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Maine Gov. LePage may reconsider his opposition to Medicaid expansion

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March 14, 2013

Maine Governor Paul LePage

By Greg Janetka

PORTLAND, Maine: Gov. Paul LePage (R), long a vocal opponent of the federal Affordable Health Act, said this week that he would back Medicaid expansion in Maine if the federal government would be guaranteed to pay the cost for a certain period of time. If he does indeed change his position and accept the expansion, LePage would join a group of eight other Republican governors who have recently done the same.[1]

It is unclear exactly what it would take for LePage to support the expansion. Adrienne Bennett, LePage’s spokeswoman, said they are in preliminary talks with the US Department of Health and Human Services, but declined to make any further comment.[2]

LePage and the Democratic-controlled Legislature continue to spar, with the governor vowing to veto any bill sent to him until lawmakers pass his plan to pay the state's $484 million Medicaid debt to state hospitals. On Monday, Democrats tied their plan to pay the debt to expanding Medicaid, causing LePage to fire back, stating, “The Medicaid expansion is a totally separate issue How can we talk about expansion when we haven’t paid our bills yet? That’s how we racked up these unpaid Medicaid bills to hospitals in the first place.”[2][3]

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