March 11, 2013

Lawmakers to hear Maine hospital debt bills today

The Associated Press

AUGUSTA — A legislative committee is taking up an issue that's already drawn a lot of attention – and ruffled partisan feathers – this session.

The Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs on Monday takes up a pair of bills to address Maine's $484 million Medicaid debt to the state's hospitals.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage's bill would use income from future liquor sales to pay the debt. He envisions covering the debt right off with money from bonds, which would be paid off with the future liquor revenues.

The bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall, a Democrat from Richmond, establishes new criteria that a successful liquor contract bidder must meet.

Democratic legislative leaders have scheduled a Monday news conference to discuss their plan.

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