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For Immediate Release

Date: 05/01/14

Fredette Urges Dems to Support Nursing Homes

Gov's bill would put funding where it's needed

AUGUSTA - House Republican Leader Ken Fredette and Assistant Leader Alex Willette are urging Senate Democrats to sustain Gov. LePage's veto of LD 1719, which would allocate tobacco settlement money for the Fund for a Healthy Maine, urging them instead to pass the Governor's bill to use those funds to increase the nursing home Medicaid reimbursement levels.

"We're facing the very real and imminent possibility of nursing homes closing their doors on elderly Mainers because the state has been short-changing them for too long," said Rep. Fredette. "We don't need more money for pamphlets and posters about obesity and smoking; we need tangible results from scarce taxpayer dollars. Helping our nursing homes and the elderly they serve should be our first priority."

The House failed to sustain the Governor's veto of LD 1719 with a vote of 105-41 Thursday afternoon. The Maine Senate is now ready to take up the measure.

"House Republicans stand ready to pass the Governor's bill to help Maine nursing homes as soon as the funding is freed up from LD 1719," added Rep. Fredette.

The Governor's bill would allocate about $5 million toward Maine's nursing homes by way of increased Medicaid reimbursement rates. A recent study showed that Maine's nursing homes are underfunded by about $30 million per year. The recently-enacted FY 2015 supplemental budget goes part of the way toward closing that gap, but not all the way.

"This is an opportunity for us to finally prioritize Fund for a Healthy Maine dollars to truly help the most vulnerable Mainers," said Assistant House Republican Leader Alex Willette of Mapleton. "When given the choice between more posters and pamphlets and ensuring that our seniors stay in their homes, I choose seniors every day of the week."

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David Sorensen
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793