Groups Challenge LePage’s Claim That Maine Will Get More Money Under GOP Health Bill

Sep 25, 2017

Gov. Paul LePage says Maine will get a 44 percent increase in health care funding under a GOP proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

In a press release issued Friday, LePage touted a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report that concluded the bill would give a financial boost to Maine. But consumer advocates disagree with the report’s findings.

Part of what the Graham-Cassidy bill would do is change how federal health care funding is distributed among states. By and large, it would shift money away from states that have expanded Medicaid to states that haven’t.

Steve Butterfield of Consumers for Affordable Health Care says that might explain why CMS concluded Maine would see an increase in funding under the proposal. But he says what CMS is doing is cherry-picking numbers from just one part of the bill.

“What they’re ignoring are the other parts of the bill that slam caps in place on how much the federal government is going to invest in health care in your state through Medicaid,” he says.

Butterfield says CMS also ignores the fact that subsidies that redistribute funding would be eliminated within a decade.

“So even if we did — and I don’t think we will — but even if we did come out ahead short-term, that’s a big cliff to fall off of in 2026,” he says.

Reviews by three organizations this week — Avalere, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities — all concluded that Maine would lose anywhere from more than $100 million to $1 billion by 2026 under Graham-Casssidy.

The Maine Center for Economic Policy issued a statement Friday saying it estimates Maine would lose $1 billion under the proposal, and that more than 160,000 Mainers stand to lose health coverage.

This story was originally published Sept. 22, 2017, at 5:14 p.m. ET.