‘We Have 70,000 Lives On The Line Here’: Maine Stuck In Battle Over Medicaid Expansion
Voters gave the OK to expanding Maine's Medicaid program last year, but Republican Gov. Paul LePage has blocked efforts at every turn, saying he would go to jail “before I put the state in red ink.” Other states are watching the political and court battle play out as advocates work to get expansion initiatives on ballots elsewhere.
The New York Times:
A Vote Expanded Medicaid In Maine. The Governor Is Ignoring It.
Brandy Staples, a 39-year-old breast cancer survivor, had expected to become eligible for Medicaid coverage this month after Maine voters approved an expansion of the program last fall. Instead, she found herself in a courtroom here on Wednesday, watching the latest chapter unfold in a rancorous, drawn-out battle over whether she and thousands of other poor people in the state will get free government insurance after all. Ignoring the binding vote, Gov. Paul LePage has refused to expand the program, blasting it as a needless, budget-busting form of welfare. He vetoed five expansion bills before the issue made the ballot, plus a spending bill this month that provided about $60 million in funding for the first year. (Goodnough, 7/24)
In other Medicaid news —
Democrats To Push For Medicaid Reimbursement Rate Fix At Special Legislative Session
It’s supposed to be a day devoted to New Hampshire’s response to a Supreme Court internet sales tax ruling, but Democrats are hoping to tack on another item to Wednesday’s special session: Medicaid reimbursement rates. Lawmakers will return to Concord on Wednesday to vote on a bill drafted by Gov. Chris Sununu and a bipartisan task force last week aiming to dissuade states from requesting sales taxes from New Hampshire businesses. The session, approved by Sununu and the Executive Council earlier this month, was explicitly created for that bill; the Legislature has been adjourned for the summer since May. (DeWitt, 7/24)