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In a 13-page court ruling issued on Monday, Maine Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy ordered Gov. Paul LePage's administration to begin implementing voter-approved Medicaid expansion. Murphy's ruling gives the Maine Department of Health and Human Services until June 11 to submit a plan to the federal government for expanding Medicaid to approximately 70,000 low-income Mainers. An analysis by Manatt Health put the state's net cost in 2021 of Medicaid expansion at $61.9 million — with an additional $489.5 million to be paid by the federal government. The nonpartisan Maine Office of Fiscal and Program Review offered similar cost projections, saying it would cost the state $55 million in fiscal year 2021, with the federal contribution being $525 million. LePage consistently has said that even with federal support, Maine cannot afford expansion — citing previous MaineCare expansion efforts in 2001 and 2003 that led to annual shortfalls of $50 million to $100 million, resulting in the state owing hundreds of millions of dollars to Maine hospitals.
Do you agree with Monday’s court ruling that Gov. LePage must now begin implementing the Medicaid expansion approved by voters last November?

06/07/18 AT 11:40 AM
Our state cannot afford this! The federal contribution is not free, it is paid by the working people in the form of our taxes or passed on as debt. This is fiscally irresponsible.

06/07/18 AT 06:03 AM
If you only look at the fiscal portion of Medicaid expansion, you may agree with LePage. But if you look at the number of people affected by Medicaid, the people who are suffering and need the assistance, it makes sense to invest a small amount to get a greater amount. It's not always about the money.

06/07/18 AT 06:02 AM
Would this have passed if the original debt was still outstanding? People have a short memory how hospitals struggled during this period and we want to jump back in without a safety net? The federal government is not that net.

06/06/18 AT 04:30 PM
Absolutely, if anything is left to LePage, he has no problem stiffing the people's will.

06/06/18 AT 04:30 PM
Governor LePage needs to start listening to the voters of Maine and stop bullying his way to what he wants.

06/06/18 AT 04:30 PM
The governor has delayed this for too long. His job is to implement the law, not delay and obstruct it.

06/06/18 AT 04:29 PM
Maine voters should not be voting on this anyway, That is the governor and legislators' job. That is why we vote for a governor and legislator. The general public has no idea what the finances are for this type of expansion. We need to figure out how to pay for things before we implement them. If my family votes to have an extra $500.00 a month so we can have better dinners but I know that we don't have an extra $500.00 a month I am not going to let that happen, I will work with the money I have. Will a judge overrule that? Figure out how to pay for it with cuts in other areas of the budget or don't implement it!

06/06/18 AT 01:57 PM
Although I agree with the expansion on policy grounds, that is not the question now. A referendum enacts a law. It is not a petition or a suggestion or a public opinion poll. The Legislature and the governor have constitutional obligations not to defy or ignore a law. The Legislature can repeal it or do what it takes to implement and fund it. Absent repeal, the governor is constitutionally obligated to implement it. He is not empowered to sabotage a law, either unconditionally or by imposing conditions that he expects will not be met. The court's order is entirely correct.

06/06/18 AT 01:56 PM
It's time for the governor and the Legislature to do their duty. The Legislature must now either prioritize their spending without raising taxes, as the governor might suggest, or pass the $55 million along to taxpayers with a veto-proof majority. It will be interesting to see if the court can compel spending by a co-equal branch of government.

06/06/18 AT 12:25 PM
Maine wins when it has a healthy population. Many small Maine businesses don't offer health insurance and medical debt is devastating to many. The boost in revenue for our health care providers — hospitals, federally qualified health centers, physicians and mental health providers — will help them afford to serve more people in need.