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Maine Group Sues to Block Medicaid Cuts
02/21/2013 11:56 AM ET  

Maine Equal Justice Partners is one of three groups that are suing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on behalf of five Maine residents who are scheduled to lose their Medicaid benefits on March 1.

A Maine group that advocates for the poor is going to court in an effort to block Medicaid cuts scheduled to take effect March 1.

Maine Equal Justice Partners, along with the National Health Law Program and the Center for Medicare Advocacy, has filed the suit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on behalf of five Maine residents, all of whom are disabled. It seeks a temporary restraining order to block the cuts.

The plaintiffs include three Lewiston residents, Louis Bourgoin, Katherine Bourgoin and Heidi Brooks, along with Katherine Sherrard of Kennebunk, and Donna Stevens of Waterville.

The cuts were pushed by Gov. Paul LePage, and enacted last year by the Legislature. The federal government rejected some parts of the plan but allowed the state to cut about 6,000 residents who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid from Maine's Medicaid program, known as MaineCare.

"Federal law protects low-income people and people with disabilities from losing their health insurance coverage through Medicaid," says the group's litigation director, Jack Comart in a statement. "By granting Maine permission to reduce eligibility, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has violated the law by cutting health care benefits for people with disabilities and for low-income seniors. Those actions are unacceptable."



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