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Conservative Group Urges Against Maine Medicaid Expansion
01/28/2014 04:40 PM ET  

At an Augusta press conference this morning, Americans for Prosperity Maine Director Carol Weston, a former Republican state senator from Montville, said expanding Medicaid would force the state to cut elsewhere.

The Maine chapter of a conservative advocacy group founded by billionaire businessman David Koch today urged against expanding the state's Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.

At an Augusta press conference this morning, Americans for Prosperity Maine Director Carol Weston, a former Republican state senator from Montville, said expanding Medicaid would force the state to cut elsewhere.

"I'd like you to picture it like this: You have a finite amount of money and Mr. Pacman is coming through and eating that money as fast as he can," she said, "because the first bucket will go to the bill - the Medicaid bill, services already rendered. You will have no choice - the legislators who serve here will have no choice - but to pay that bill and then watch that eat that budget. What's left will then be distributed, and schools, towns, and roads and bridges and other health care areas, will be cut. "

Though the Affordable Care Act requires the feds to pay 100 percent of the cost of expansion for the first three years, and 90 percent thereafter, Sidney selectwoman Laura Parker said she doesn't think Maine can afford to add more people to the Medicaid rolls.

"One cannot discount the fact that we live with a government that is constantly changing representatives," Parker said. "Who is to say that the reimbursement rate won't change or completely disappear before it was promised to?"

Maine lawmakers are considering a bill sponsored by Democrats that would expand Medicaid to an estimated 70,000 impoverished residents. A similar bill was vetoed last session by Gov. Paul LePage, and an effort to override the veto failed.

A.J. Higgins contributed reporting to this story.



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