More than 500 Mainers now have coverage under Medicaid expansion. Gov. Janet Mills made the announcement Thursday morning, a week after she officially took office and pledged to expand the health care program that voters approved by referendum more than a year ago.
More than 8,000 individuals have applied for MaineCare, the state version of Medicaid, since July. That's when the law was supposed to take effect, but the LePage administration refused to expand until the Legislature identified a funding source that satisfied the former governor.
The Department of Health and Human Services' acting commissioner, Jeanne Lambrew, has launched a blog to track the state's progress in implementing expansion. In the blog, Lambrew states that DHHS has submitted paperwork to the federal government to expedite expansion and ensure retroactive coverage to July.
The department has approved more than 500 people for coverage so far. At a meeting with stakeholders on Thursday, Gov. Mills and Lambrew solicited ideas on how to find the estimated 70,000 people who are newly eligible for health coverage and sign them up.