Healthcare activists sue Maine's HHS over idled Medicaid expansion

Maine advocacy groups, including the Maine Primary Care Association and Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care, filed a lawsuit against Republican Gov. Paul LePage's administration, alleging the state's executive branch disregarded voter-approved Medicaid expansion, according to a Politico report.

In November, Maine became the 32nd state to approve Medicaid expansion and the first to do so via referendum. But Mr. LePage subsequently said he would not implement Medicaid expansion without full funding from state lawmakers. As of the end of the last state legislative session, a funding agreement was still not in place.

Now, to try and force implementation on the health law, the advocacy groups have filed a lawsuit against the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, alleging Mr. Page's administration has ignored the ballot initiative, according to the report.

"With the goal of getting healthcare to people as soon as possible, we decided we couldn't wait any longer," said Robyn Merrill of Maine Equal Justice Partners, reports Politico.

A spokesperson for Mr. LePage's office did not immediately respond to Politico's request for comment.

Maine Equal Justice Partners initially put the Medicaid expansion issue on the November 2017 ballot after Mr. LePage vetoed multiple legislative attempts to expand coverage to more low-income residents. If Medicaid expansion is fully implemented, approximately 80,000 Mainers will be able to gain coverage.

 

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