Welfare Debt Paid, Maine is Now in Better Financial Standing

September 18, 2013

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, Sept. 18
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-253

AUGUSTA – Delivering on a promise to the people of Maine, Governor Paul R. LePage announced Wednesday a half-billion dollars of welfare debt has been paid to Maine’s hospitals. Thirty-nine hospitals from Aroostook County to York received on Wednesday a total of $490,200,000 for MaineCare services dating back to 2009. MaineCare is the state’s name for its Medicaid program.

“These payments to Maine hospitals are not a windfall. It is welfare debt owed for over a decade that the State of Maine is finally making good on,” said Governor LePage. “Collectively, our hospitals are the state’s largest employer, providing good jobs and investment in communities throughout Maine.”

Maine hospitals received electronic payments totaling $490,200,000. Governor LePage made the announcement official in Waterville Wednesday morning at Inland Hospital, which is a member of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems (EMHS), where he delivered remarks and presented payment to Inland chief executive officer John Dalton. Inland received $9,460,493.

“On behalf of Inland and all our EMHS hospitals across the state, I’d like to thank Governor LePage for his leadership in addressing the MaineCare debt owed to hospitals,” said Dalton. “The Governor has been focused on this issue since the early days of his campaign, and we appreciate his diligence and collaboration with the legislature to make this happen today.”

“It has been a challenge to carry the debt, and it has made an economic impact beyond the walls of our hospital - into the Waterville community - and all communities across Maine,” Dalton said.

The mounting welfare debt burden on EMHS, has affected the hospitals and communities in significant ways, including forcing hospitals to deplete savings and rely on lines of credit to pay bills; the inability to invest in the care, services, and technology needed to improve the health of patients; deferred payment to local vendors impacting the financial status of small businesses in local communities; and delayed construction projects.

Wednesday afternoon, Governor LePage visited Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston as well – the same location where in 2010, he promised Mainers he would call attention to this welfare debt and pay it back. Central Maine Medical Center received $38,188,674. Other Central Maine Medical Family providers, Bridgton Hospital and Rumford Hospital, received $1,850,004 and $3,444,998 respectively. For a complete list of payments, click here.

This overdue, massive welfare debt of $490 million is now off the books, placing Maine in an improved fiscal condition. Recently, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) and Moody’s Investors Service, leading providers of global credit benchmarks, affirmed their credit ratings on the State of Maine’s general obligation debt while noting Maine’s rising welfare costs.

“As evidenced in the Moody’s report, failure to pay the hospital debt has hindered Maine’s financial status and harmed the economy as a whole,” Governor LePage said. “With this payment made, now we must continue to move Maine forward to further strengthen the economy by making thoughtful, common-sense reforms.”

To view a complete list of payments to hospitals click the link below.

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Hospital Settlements