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LePage Files Medicaid Expansion Plan, Along With Request To Reject It

Andrew Harnik
Associated Press
Vice President Mike Pence shakes hands with Maine Gov. Paul LePage (left) in Sept. 2017, in Washington.

The LePage administration has filed a plan with the federal government to provide for the expansion of Medicaid to some 70,000 Mainers, just as voters approved nearly a year ago. But LePage has strongly opposed the initiative, and so has also asked the feds to reject the plan.

The LePage administration has been under a court order to submit a Medicaid expansion plan, and while the filing appears to comply with that ruling, it is negated by his cover letter asking that his plan be rejected. He reiterates his opposition in the letter, copied to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Robyn Merrill of Maine Equal Justice, the group that sued LePage for refusing to file an expansion plan, says it therefore doesn’t really meet the requirements of the court and that her group will be going back to court to make its case.

“The court made clear that the Commissioner needed to submit a state plan that complies with the law. It’s arguable this does not,” she says. “What might look like compliance with the court order is negated by the accompanying letter from the governor basically urging the administrator, the federal government,to reject the state plan.”

Originally published Sept. 4, 2018 at 5:37 p.m. ET