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Medicaid Expansion Legal Battle To Continue In Portland Thursday

Cumberland County Superior Court - Portland

The legal battle over Medicaid expansion picks up again in Superior Court in Portland Thursday and Friday.

The goal of the hearing is to resolve issues around implementation, including a motion to find the state in contempt of a court order to start the implementation process.

The lawsuit is back in Superior Court, following a ruling by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in August. In that decision, the justices said that the LePage administration was bound to obey the lower court's order to file a federal application to expand Medicaid. The state complied, but Governor LePage also sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asking that the application be denied.

That action prompted Maine Equal Justice Partners, the group leading the lawsuit against the state, to file a motion asking the Superior Court to find the state in contempt and to appoint a third party receiver to take over the application process. That motion will be considered Friday.

On Thursday, Justice Michaela Murphy will consider several unresolved issues around Medicaid expansion, as directed by the State Supreme Court ruling. One question relates to when people are eligible for coverage under the law that was supposed to take effect July 2. Another is whether implementation can proceed without appropriated funding.

Originally published Sept. 26, 2018 at 3:25 p.m. ET.