AUGUSTA – The Maine House of Representatives gave initial approval of a bill to fund both the administrative and claims cost of the voter-approved Medicaid Expansion law. The law will expand access to health care for 70,000 Mainers, make available over $500 million in new federal funds and boost Maine’s economy by adding over 3,000 jobs. Since the law’s passage in November 2017, the LePage Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services have failed to move forward with implementation, despite ongoing litigation, citing funding concerns.
“Medicaid expansion is the law of the land. And as the Maine Superior Court has made clear, the governor has a constitutional obligation to implement this law,” said Speaker Sara Gideon. “This ruling also established the urgent need to get a Medicaid expansion funding bill to the governor’s desk as quickly as possible so he can move forward with implementation. Maine voters demanded increased access to healthcare and now the Legislature has done our job to make that demand a reality. I urge the governor to sign this bill.”
LD 837 “An Act To Provide Supplemental Appropriations and Allocations for the Operations of State Government,” was amended by Rep. Drew Gattine to allocate $31 million in claims cost, in addition to the $3.8 million in administrative costs. The bill passed the House 78-58.
“Mainers passed this expansion overwhelmingly at the ballot box,” said Rep. Drew Gattine, House Chair of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. “They want to give our state the tools we need to make sure more people can see a doctor, to keep critical rural hospitals open for business and to create sorely needed jobs. It’s time to put to rest this debate, to make the necessary funds available and to stop fighting about expansion and start realizing the health and economic benefits.”
LD 837 will now head to the full Senate for an initial vote.