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Maine Gov, AG Spar Over Release of Medicaid Report
01/08/2014   Reported By: A.J. Higgins

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills has sent the LePage administration a letter demanding the release of a taxpayer-financed report on the impact of Medicaid expansion in Maine. Mills says the $925,000 study had originally been slated for release by state officials on Monday when the administration abruptly announced it needed more time to review it. A.J. Higgins has more.

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Maine Gov, AG Spar Over Release of Medicaid Report
Originally Aired: 1/8/2014 5:30 PM

After announcing last month that an initial study from the Alexander Group would be released on Monday, reporters, lawmakers and others expected to get a glimpse of the document that could be used to bolster the governor's position against expanding health care to more Mainers under the Affordable Care Act.

But Gov. Paul LePage decided not to release the report, claiming he hadn't had time to read it. Democratic Maine Attorney General Janet Mills says the governor is waiting too long.

"The law requires the release of this report," Mills says. "I find no exemption in state law for a period of review of now, what, 22 days?"

Several media outlets have filed numerous requests under the state's Freedom of Access law for the release of the report. Mills says that as chief law enforcement officer for the State of Maine and chief advisor on Freedom of Access issues, she told the governor that he must release the report to all who requested it immediately.

"There's nothing in the law that says you can take three or four weeks to review a report and maybe edit it or analyze it and finalize it, as they said in the papers, there's no rationale for such a delay," Mills says. "Disclosure is disclosure, transparancy is transparancy."

In response to Mills' letter, the governor's press secretary, Adrienne Bennett said that as Maine moves into an election year, elected and appointed Democrats from both within, and even outside Maine, will do anything to politicize a report. In an email, Bennett said the report is clearly designed to provide a road map to save taxpayers money and improve services.

Bennett urged Democrats to "end the attacks, allow the report to be studied, results released, and then we can discuss the merits of what can be done to make Maine services better and reduce costs for taxpayers."

But when speaking to a selected group of reporters, LePage said that if Mills didn't like how he was handling the Alexander Group report, she could sue him - a suggested course of action that was not being seriously considered by the attorney general.

"I tend to take his initial responses to things with a grain of salt," Mills says.




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