June 14, 2013

Maine lawmakers send Medicaid expansion compromise to LePage

But the Legislature is still three votes short of a veto-proof majority for a bill that would provide 60,000 low-income Mainers with health insurance.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
State House Bureau

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

State Reps. Eleanor Espling, R-New Gloucester, left, and Amy Volk, R-Scarborough, look at the tote board during a roll call vote during a session Thursday, June 13, 2013, at the State House in Augusta, Maine. A bill that would provide health insurance to more than 60,0000 low-income Mainers was enacted by the Legislature Thursday, but it’s still three votes short of a veto-proof majority. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

The waiting list is the subject of a class-action lawsuit filed against the LePage administration earlier this year. A Superior Court judge ruled May 28 that Maine must provide services to those on the list.

Individuals on the list receive a different class of Medicaid coverage and would be unaffected by expansion.

Medicaid expansion would extend coverage to adults without children who earn as much as $20,500 a year. Under the amended bill, eligibility would expire after three years, when federal reimbursements for the program are scheduled to decline from 100 percent to 90 percent unless the Legislature takes additional action.

In addition to the "sunset" provision, Katz's amendment would require an outside auditor to assess the broader financial effects of the expansion and increased co-payments for recipients.

The amendment would require the federal government to confirm that Maine will receive the promised 100 percent federal reimbursement for childless adults who enroll in the program in the first three years of expansion, as prescribed in the Affordable Care Act.

The House vote held Wednesday saw three Republicans who previously supported expansion abandon the compromise proposal, resulting in a net gain of one Republican from the vote the week before.

The Senate vote Thursday was identical to the one last week when Katz introduced the amendment designed to address Republicans' concerns with the Medicaid expansion.

L.D. 1066 now goes to LePage, who is expected to veto the bill.

Steve Mistler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

smistler@pressherald.com

Twitter: @stevemistler

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