June 13, 2013

Maine compromise on Medicaid at risk of veto

The House joins the Senate in voting to expand MaineCare, but Republican support falls short of being veto-proof.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
State House Bureau

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

Republicans argued that the sunset makes a bad bill worse. Some said lawmakers wouldn’t muster the political courage to eliminate health care coverage for people once they had provided it, even if the program proved costly.

Republicans who are open to expansion have been under mounting pressure to oppose it.

Opponents have circulated a list of Republican lawmakers who are contemplating voting for expansion. That list includes the lawmakers’ phone numbers and a message urging them to reject Medicaid expansion.

The lobbying has had mixed results.

Two Republican co-sponsors of L.D. 1066, Sens. Brian Langley of Ellsworth and Rodney Whittemore of Skowhegan voted against the compromise bill in the Senate last week.

Others have said they will continue to support expansion. L.D. 1066 requires an additional vote in the Senate before going to LePage’s desk.

Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, and House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, said Wednesday that they are hopeful the bill will gain additional Republican votes.

Steve Mistler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at: smistler@pressherald.com
Twitter: @stevemistler

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