Medicaid expansion becomes the law of the land July 2, expanding critical health care to 70,000 Mainers. But Gov. LePage has stalled on funding the state’s share of expansion. UPDATE 4/19: Republicans chose to leave Augusta before their work was done. A special session may be called by House and Senate leadership. Contact your legislators and tell them you expect them to finish the work we sent them to Augusta to do, including voting YES on LD 837.
SUM Legislature Group C2A
Last November Maine became the first state in the country to expand Medicaid by voter referendum. The first procedural hurdle to implementation–submission of the state’s expansion plan outline–was due April 3 to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS). That date came and went with no action by the LePage administration, who continues to block implementation. Expansion will broaden health care access to 70,000 additional Mainers—including 3,000 veterans—and is predicted to bring $500 million new federal health care dollars to the state and create 6,000 new jobs. Still, LePage has refused to allow DHHS to begin work on its expansion proposal. Expansion proponents in the Legislature have balked at his demands, noting that DHHS already has access to the funds necessary to get the program rolling this year. And now, with news of an expected $128 million budget surplus for 2018-2019, it would seem the state has the funding it needs for next year as well. The next step is a public hearing before the Appropriations Committee on legislation that would appropriate money to fund the administrative costs of MaineCare expansion. The state has until July 2 to expand MaineCare to all Maine residents eligible under the ACA guidelines. With the referendum’s passage, Medicaid expansion will become law whether or not the state portion is funded. LD 837, passed 9-4 by the Taxation Committee last week, would provide partial funding for the state’s share of Medicaid expansion costs in the first year.
UPDATE 4/19: Republicans chose to leave Augusta before their work was done. A special session may be called by House and Senate leadership. Contact your legislators and tell them you expect them to finish the work we sent them to Augusta to do, including voting YES on LD 837. Not sure who your legislators are? Find them and their contact information here.
- Funds are available for use in expanding Medicaid this budget cycle
- Evidence from states that have expanded Medicaid consistently show that expansion generates savings and revenue which can be used to offset much if not all the cost of expansion
- With the passage of the referendum the expansion will become law whether or not the state portion is funded
- Like other states that have expanded their Medicaid programs, implementing Medicaid expansion will also help Maine address its drug crisis.