Politics

March 20, 2013

LePage spurs new debate on Medicaid expansion

But the resistance comes from some Republicans, after the governor reverses his stance from November.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
State House Bureau

(Continued from page 1)

The Democratic argument will continue Wednesday when lawmakers hold a press conference to support LD 1066. The bill to expand Medicaid in Maine is sponsored by Rep. Linda Sanborn, D-Gorham, a retired family physician.

"A great many physicians think this is the right thing to do," Sanborn said Tuesday.

Sanborn's bill has several Republican co-sponsors. However, the pressure on Republican lawmakers to spurn expansion remains, and is expected to increase.

House Republican leader Rep. Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport, last week released a statement saying that "the federal government keeps dangling bait in front of us and we keep on taking it."

Fredette said Medicaid had given the state "nine-figure cost overruns at Maine's Department of Health and Human Services and saddled our hospitals with $500 million in unpaid Medicaid bills. Maine cannot afford more broken promises and bait-and-switch hard-sells from Washington."

Sanborn said one lawmaker called her Tuesday saying she was under pressure from the Republican caucus to withdraw her co-sponsorship. She would not identify the lawmaker.

"It's discouraging, but not surprising," Sanborn said. "They (the co-sponsors) haven't committed to supporting the bill, they just think we should be talking about (Medicaid expansion). But they're also afraid of the pushback."

 

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

smistler@mainetoday.com

 

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