AUGUSTA – Gov. Paul R. LePage on Saturday used his weekly radio address to once again call for action on a bill that would compensate Maine’s hospitals for nearly half-a-billion dollars in unpaid Medicaid bills.
“More than one hundred fifteen days have passed since I put a plan on the table to pay the hospitals,” said Gov. LePage. “Nearly four months later, the hospitals are still waiting for the $484 million the state owes them,” he said.
“By paying the State’s bills, we strengthen our economy and the hospitals that care for and employ Maine people. Hospitals will be able to pay new and existing employees and local vendors, and they will be able to pursue capital improvements that will lead to even more jobs,” said LePage.
LePage has said that he will not issue general obligation bonds until the hospitals are paid because doing so would jeopardize Maine’s credit rating.
“Once the hospitals are paid, I’ve promised to issue voter-authorized bonds that will grow our economy, including the 2014 transportation infrastructure improvements and $53.5 million for conservation, clean water upgrades, and construction and energy-efficiency projects at post-secondary educational institutions,” said LePage.
Although Maine Democrats have repeatedly said that they will support paying Maine’s hospital bills, they have yet to match words with deeds. Recently, Democratic leaders have attempted to link the governor’s hospital repayment bill with Medicaid expansion.
According to the governor, Senate President Justin L. Alfond (D-Cumberland) and Speaker of the House Mark W. Eves (D-North Berwick) are obstructing the Legislature’s work for political reasons.
“Even if my proposals have merit—even if they are good for Maine people—it is nearly impossible to get them passed by a Democratic-led Legislature,” said LePage.
“President Alfond and Speaker Eves are preventing a vote on the hospital bill, knowing that what they are doing is wrong for Maine.”
“They do not want to pay the hospitals,” he said.
“That’s the difference between me and career politicians. I just want to get the job done.”