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Medicaid Funding Battle Threatens to Punch Hole in New Maine Budget
06/21/2010 10:57 AM ET  

The state's coffers will be $85 million short when the fiscal year begins July 1st, if Congress fails to provide the additional Medicaid funds that state budget writers were counting on.

While the state of Maine is expected to end this fiscal year with a surplus, a shortfall is looming for the new fiscal year because of a battle in Congress over Medicaid funding.

Maine, like 25 other states, had expected to get an additional six months of extra Medicaid funding. But Maine Sen. Susan Collins says the funds, once considered all but certain, are now in doubt as the U.S. House and Senate grapple with reconciling different bills.

"The Senate passed an extension that was paid for and it was another six months," she says. "What we should be doing is passing an extension that's paid for and that gradually phases out, rather than having the increased money drop off like a cliff."

If the impasse is not resolved, the state of Maine will begin the new fiscal year, which starts July 1st, $85 million short. First District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree says she expects a measure to pass that will provide some additional aid to the states. But she says the House and Senate continue to disagree, not only on how much aid the states should get, but how and over what time frame.



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