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Maine Files Plan to Cut Medicaid

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Maine Files Plan to Cut Medicaid

August 7, 2012

On August 1, Maine's Department of Health and Human Services filed paperwork with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requesting approval for Medicaid cuts that Governor Paul LePage signed into law as part of a supplemental budget package. LePage’s statement says the cuts are necessary to "save [Maine's] safety net and sustain it for the long-term.”

The cuts would eliminate coverage for some young adults, tighten income eligibility requirements for low-income parents and scale back Medicaid access for seniors who are also eligible for Medicare benefits.

Opponents to the proposed cuts, including U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME), say that they are a violation of federal law, as the recently-upheld Affordable Care Act continues to prohibit states from scaling back existing Medicaid services prior to 2014 when the ACA’s Medicaid expansion provisions will go into effect.

In July, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent state governors a letter stating that while the Supreme Court’s ACA decision allows a state’s participation in the 2014 expansion to be optional, the other provisions of the law were not effected—which, while not specifically mentioned in the letter, would include the maintenance of effort provisions.