Gov. Paul LePage of Maine is being forced to uphold a ballot measure that passed seven months ago when Maine voters decided to expand Medicaid under The Affordable Care Act (ACA). His administration was ordered to file the paperwork to the federal government by next week, according to POLITICO.
Supporters of the ACA sued LePage’s administration in April to take action on the results of the November ballot that overrode the governor’ initial decision to block the expansion. It will give eligible, single beneficiaries t$16,643 in annual support. Families of two will receive $22,412 and $33,948 for families of four.
A press release issued by LaPage condemned the vote: He stated,
The last time Maine experimented with Medicaid expansion in 2002 under then-governor Angus King, it created a $750 million debt to hospitals, resulted in massive budg. et shortfalls every year, did not reduce emergency room use, did not reduce the number of uninsured Mainers and took resources away from our most vulnerable residents—the elderly and the intellectually and physically disabled.
Approximately 70,000 new beneficiaries are expected to have Medicaid coverage in July under the expansion but LePage has repeatedly pushed back, saying the state does not have the means to pay for it.
Maine Department of Health and Human Services commissioner Rick Hamilton is required to submit a plan to CMS by June 11, 2018 and they will have 180 days to “administer Medicaid services to people under the age of 65 based on new income eligibility requirements,” according to Health Payer Intelligence.
Gov. LePage is leaving office at the end of the year after continuously vetoing legislation concerning Medicaid expansion and referring to the program as welfare, during his two terms in office.
Executive director of Maine Equal Justice Partners Robyn Merrill stated in a NYTimes article:
Maine voters did not make a request at the ballot, they passed a law, and laws are not optional. Today’s ruling is good news for more than 70,000 Mainers who the law says can sign up for health care on July 2.
Read more about the Medicare expansion here.
To read Gov. LePage’s press release issued last year, click here.
For more information about the expansion and its implications on the state of Maine, visit Health Payer Intelligence.