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US Supreme Court denies Governor’s request to argue case to drop MaineCare coverage for 19 &20 year olds
June 8, 2015
(AUGUSTA) The United States Supreme Court has denied a request to hear a case sought by the LePage Administration to drop MaineCare coverage for 19 and 20 year olds. The order released on Monday morning denied certiorari in the case of Mayhew v. Burwell.
Attorney General Janet T. Mills has opposed the effort by the LePage administration in this case, citing a lack of legal merit in their position. This is the third time the Administration’s efforts have been rebuffed in a legal setting.
“The unanimous decision by the three-judge panel of the 1st Circuit was correct and there was no reason for the US Supreme Court to take this case,” said Attorney General Janet T. Mills. “I respect the earnestness with which the Governor sought to advance his argument, but I have felt all along that it lacked legal merit. As an independent constitutional officer I take seriously my duty to offer unvarnished legal advice and to uphold the rule of law, and I will continue to do so.”
In 2012 the LePage Administration sought a waiver from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to drop coverage for the 19 and 20 year olds from the state’s MaineCare (Medicaid) program. The State of Maine began covering this group during the economic crisis of 1991 and the Affordable Care Act requires that coverage continue until 2019. That request for a waiver was denied and the decision was upheld in an administrative hearing. The LePage Administration appealed that ruling to the Federal Court. Attorney General Janet T. Mills declined to represent the Administration, citing a lack of legal merit in their position. After she allowed the administration to hire outside counsel, Attorney General Mills intervened in the public interest and against the LePage Administration. In November 2014, the First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously against the Administration. The denial by the US Supreme Court to hear the case brings this case to a close and requires the state to provide medical care under MaineCare to approximately 7,000 low income young adults who are not eligible for insurance subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.
“Many of these young Mainers are in transition from childhood to adulthood, are working at the corner store, the big box stores, the gas stations and the donut shops, trying to make a living in this state,” said Attorney General Mills. “If they break a leg, if they are hit by a car or if they require hospitalization, they have no way to pay for it. No other insurance is available except the safety net of MaineCare.”