Maine Government News
Maine Requests More Flexibility, Funding to Consider Medicaid Expansion
March 20, 2013
Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew has informed federal officials of the state’s need for more flexibility and guaranteed federal funding if Maine is to participate in the expansion of its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
AUGUSTA – Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew has informed federal officials of the state’s need for more flexibility and guaranteed federal funding if Maine is to participate in the expansion of its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
In a letter to United States Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released Tuesday, Mayhew said that Maine’s innovative efforts to transform its Medicaid program into one that produces better quality health outcomes and that is affordable hinges on less federal restrictions and more financial support from the federal government.
“We truly believe that in order to provide high-quality health coverage we must reinvent our Medicaid program through innovations that ensure a patient-centered approach and hold providers and payors accountable for quality outcomes,” Mayhew wrote.
Along with greater flexibility, Maine is seeking 100 percent federal funding for the expansion population for the next decade. Maine began expanding its Medicaid program in 2002, and Maine taxpayers have carried the financial burden. Since 2002, Maine has seen an 80 percent increase in enrollment and a significant loss of federal funding.
The end result has been annual needs for additional state Medicaid funding and $484 million in unpaid hospital bills. Under ACA, early expansion states, like Maine receive less federal funding for those already covered who otherwise would have fallen into the expansion population.
“We want the hallmark of the coming decade to be financial stability, with flexibility and innovation leading to affordable health care for the long term. Our taxpayers should be acknowledged, not penalized, for their generosity,” Mayhew wrote.