From House Communications Director David Sorensen:
AUGUSTA – The Maine House of Representatives late Monday afternoon voted 77-57 in favor of LD 1794, a politically-motivated bill to nullify a contract between the Department of Health and Human Services and the Alexander Group, a Medicaid consulting firm hired to reduce costs in the MaineCare system.
Six House Democrats joined Republicans in opposing the unprecedented measure. They were Reps. Terry Hayes of Buckfield, Brian Jones of Freedom, Bryan Kaenrath of South Portland, Stanley Short of Pittsfield, Steve Stanley of Medway, and Arthur Verow of Brewer.
“I’m glad that several of our Democratic colleagues see this bill for what it is, and that is a political ploy that sets an extremely bad precedent,” said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. “What company would want to do business with Maine’s state government if the Legislature just stepped in and cancelled their contract? As a spiteful piece of legislation, I see this as a bill akin to the one to sell the Blaine House and go after Governor LePage’s pension.”
Rep. Fredette, an attorney, also questioned the bill’s constitutionality. Assistant House Republican Leader Alex Willette added that DHHS was continuing its mission of reform under Governor Paul LePage in hiring the Alexander Group.
“Democrats don’t like the results they’ve seen from the firm, but the bottom line is we must reform Medicaid. Something has to be done because costs are ballooning out of control and Mainers are paying the price with higher taxes, more debt, and fewer services,” said Rep. Willette. “It’s a lot easier to sit back and criticize someone else’s work than it is to go out and do it yourself, and for years under liberal politicians, nobody did the work to reform our bloated welfare system.”