Medicaid expansion

Maine Public staff

A Superior Court judge has ruled that the LePage administration must expand Medicaid.

The decision, issued Monday, orders the state to submit a plan to the federal government within a week. Advocates say that means enrollment should begin on July 2, for the 70,000 people who are eligible.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Legislature's Appropriations Committee is meeting to see if Democrats and Republicans are any closer to a compromise on a supplemental budget.
Committee members on Wednesday will consider unfunded bills, bond proposals and other measures left on the table when lawmakers adjourned last month with unfinished business. Some of the matters must be dealt with before the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
One of the biggest sticking points is funding to get the ball rolling to expand Medicaid.

Steve Mistler / Maine Public

A superior court judge could soon determine whether the LePage administration can continue delaying implementation of a law designed to provide health coverage for roughly 70,000 low-income Mainers.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Several health care advocacy organizations in Maine are suing the state over its refusal to expand Medicaid. The lawsuit, filed Monday in Kennebec County Superior Court, seeks to compel the Department of Health and Human Services to implement Medicaid expansion after it missed a deadline to file an application with the federal government.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine health care providers, lawmakers and advocates are planning to rally to demand that Maine take action on voter-approved Medicaid expansion.
The state faces a Tuesday deadline to submit a routine application to ensure roughly $500 million in annual federal funding for expansion.
The tens of thousands of low-income individuals who could benefit from such expansion are still waiting for Gov. Paul LePage's administration and lawmakers to take action.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's Republican governor is claiming without providing evidence that President Donald Trump's administration will only let the state expand Medicaid if Maine lawmakers put the money up.
The tens of thousands of low-income individuals who could benefit from voter-approved Medicaid expansion are waiting for Gov. Paul LePage's administration and lawmakers to take action.

The LePage administration is telling two key legislative committees that it will not take any steps to implement the expansion of Medicaid that was approved by voters until money is appropriated to pay for it.

Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Commissioner Ricker Hamilton outlined the administration's stance in a letter to the co-chairs of the Appropriations and Health and Human Services committees.

LePage Can Expect A Lawsuit If He Blocks Medicaid Expansion

Jan 5, 2018
In this Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, file photo, supporters of Medicaid expansion celebrate their victory, in Portland, Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Much has been written and said about last year’s referendum to expand Maine’s Medicaid program under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act and the funding battle that’s brewing this year in the Legislature.

But according to Assistant House Majority Leader Jared Golden, D-Lewiston, there will be no battle.

The Legislature’s Appropriations Committee has started the lengthy process of determining how to expand Medicaid, as approved by voters last month.

As many as 90,000 Mainers could be covered by the expansion, but it will take many months before they are actually covered.

“The expectation was that we were going to come in and find the money to get this thing implemented. No, what we met today was basically a fact finding,” says Sen. Jim Hamper, a Republican from Oxford who co-chairs the committee.

Marina Villeneuve / Associated Press

Gov. Paul LePage is warning lawmakers that he’ll oppose nearly any method they propose to pay for the expansion of Medicaid that voters in the state approved last month.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's Republican governor says he's trying to come up with proposed spending cuts to pay for voter-approved Medicaid expansion but says "it's a big reach.''
Gov. Paul LePage told The Associated Press "the money has got to be in the bank'' before Maine expands Medicaid to thousands of people at a $54.5 million price tag. LePage didn't detail what cuts could pay for expansion, but previously pushed for cuts to Medicaid eligibility and social assistance programs.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A Maine legislative panel is set to discuss the cost of expanding Medicaid to some 70,000 citizens in a public referendum.
Voters in November approved a referendum to have Maine join 31 other states in expanding Medicaid. Medicaid expansion would cover adults under age 65 with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. That's $16,643 for a single person or $22,412 for a family of two.
Republican Gov. Paul LePage has said he won't implement the voter-approved expansion until it's fully funded by the state Legislature.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

The ballot campaign to expand Medicaid is over. But making sure roughly 70,000 low-income Mainers actually receive that health coverage? Far from it.

Maine's governor and the Legislature - actually legislatures - have battled for years over expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Next week Maine voters can get into the act. Referendum Question 2 would approve the Medicaid expansion. Maine Public’s State House Bureau Chief Steve Mistler has written a story for Maine about the history of Medicaid expansion and talks about it with Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz.

Patty Wight / Maine Public

Next month, voters will decide whether the state should expand Medicaid. At stake is health coverage for an estimated 70,000 Mainers as well as financial stability for hospitals.