AUGUSTA – Top Republicans in the House of Representatives have rejected a bill from Assistance Senate Minority Leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) and Sen. Tom Saviello (R-Franklin) that would expand eligibility for Medicaid while simultaneously contracting with managed care service providers.
The measure was unveiled Tuesday as an apparent compromise between pro-expansion Democrats and Republicans.
“ObamaCare’s welfare expansion would be so devastating for Maine’s economic future that we simply cannot support it or anything that’s attached to it,” said House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport). “We have reached many productive compromises with our Democratic colleagues over the past year, but Medicaid expansion will not be one of them—it’s too destructive of Maine’s economy.”
Assistant House Minority Leader Alex Willette (R-Mapleton) agreed, saying that under the leadership of Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew and the LePage Administration, cost savings initiatives are already being implemented in the MaineCare program.
“By implementing value-based purchasing and Accountable Care Organizations, Commissioner Mayhew and the LePage Administration have held Medicaid cost growth to about one percent over the past two years, compared to four percent nationally.”
“We acknowledge the efforts of Senators Katz and Saviello in trying to reduce health care costs with managed care, but these are things DHHS is already doing and things that should be considered apart from ObamaCare’s welfare expansion proposal,” said Fredette.
Senate Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo), also issued statements rejecting the Katz-Saviello proposal.
“Expanding the very program that has produced budget shortfalls for decades is still a bad idea,” said Thibodeau. “The promise of managed care two years from now does nothing to change that.”
Sen. Garrett Mason (R-Androscoggin) said Maine cannot afford the “single largest proposed expansion of welfare in our state’s history.”
“If welfare created prosperity, Maine would be one of the richest states in the nation,” he said.