Maine voters approved a referendum in November to expand Medicaid but Gov. Paul LePage again laid out his objections in a letter to lawmakers. In Michigan, a new study looks at the number of Medicaid enrollees who are working.
Maine Governor Lays Out Demands For Medicaid Expansion Voters Approved
An expansion of Medicaid in Maine must be paid for without raising taxes or tapping the state’s budget stabilization fund, Gov. Paul LePage (R) told the state Legislature in a letter Monday. The letter reiterated demands that LePage first made in November, after voters in the state overwhelmingly passed a ballot initiative to accept the Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare. (Weixel, 12/11)
Bangor (Maine) Daily News:
LePage Digs In For Medicaid Expansion Funding Battle
LePage also wrote that the money appropriated by the Legislature for Medicaid expansion must be based on the Department of Health and Human Services estimates of the state’s share of the cost, not on what the Office of Fiscal and Program Review estimated. The nonpartisan Office of Fiscal and Program Review pegged the cost after full implementation at more than $54 million a year, which would be matched with $525 million in federal matching funds. The Department of Health and Human Services has estimated the cost of expansion will be at least $63 million next year, $82 million in fiscal year 2020, $97 million in 2021 and more than $100 million every year after that, according to the governor’s office. (Cousins, 12/12)
Portland (Maine) Press Herald:
LePage Issues Letter To Lawmakers Reiterating Medicaid Expansion Demands
On the Republican side, some lawmakers have at least hinted at paying for expansion by cutting funds for K-12 education. The Legislature boosted education funding by $162 million in the current two-year state budget. That additional funding was provided after the Legislature repealed a law approved by voters in 2016 that added a 3 percent tax charge on household income above $200,000 to fund education. (Thistle, 12/11)
In Letter, LePage Says He Opposes Many Ways To Fund Voter-Approved Medicaid Expansion
House Speaker Sara Gideon, a Democrat from Freeport, has long supported expansion. She says the voters endorsed the expansion of Medicaid at referendum and that it will be carried out, despite the governor’s threats to veto certain funding mechanisms the Legislature might consider. “The person who is writing four-page letters telling us every way that we cannot do it is a person living in a taxpayer-funded house with taxpayer-funded health care,” she says. Gideon says the expansion is already state law, and she expects LePage’s administration to start taking steps in February to begin rulemaking to implement the expansion to about 80,000 Mainers. (Leary, 12/11)
The Associated Press:
Study: Half Of Michigan Medicaid Expansion Enrollees Work
A study released Monday finds roughly half of those enrolled in Michigan’s Medicaid program since its expansion have jobs and another quarter who are unemployed are likely to be in poor health, raising concerns about potential work requirements for enrollees. Authors of the study by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation say the findings suggest that such requirements could disrupt health coverage for vulnerable people with chronic health conditions, and states will incur administrative costs of launching such a work requirement effort “to identify and enforce employment for relatively few individuals.” (Karoub, 12/11)
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