Following the scheduled public hearings and work sessions today, the Health and Human Services Committee will review amendments for Legislative Document 633, in addition to other bills, in COB Room 209.
As reported yesterday in The Maine Wire, this bill would cost Maine taxpayers $500 million over the next five years- $185 million more than traditional Medicaid expansion, as outlined by the Affordable Care Act.
According to Commissioner Mary Mayhew, “Medicaid expansion is not free, and the current proposal by Senator Saviello would cripple the financial stability this Administration has worked tirelessly to establish and erode the progress made to prioritize the needs of our elderly and disabled. Expansion has already driven large budget shortfalls in many other states, and Maine knows full well the reality of Medicaid expansion having made these mistakes under previous Administrations that led to large annual budget shortfalls, hundreds of millions in unpaid bills to hospitals and rate cuts to providers. We do not need to repeat the mistakes of the past.”
Governor LePage and conservative lawmakers have consistently opposed any attempt to expand Medicaid beyond the current level. It is important to note that states that have opted to expand Medicaid programs, such as Arkansas and California, have already greatly exceeded all cost predictions.
According to House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport, “We have seen Medicaid expansion happen in many other states. Many states are regretting it; they are seeing holes in their budgets right now where they are having to raise more money.”
If lawmakers want to address Maine’s exorbitant health care costs and reduce the number of uninsured, they should consider these proposals.