Maine Challenges Feds Over Medicaid Expansion

The state can't afford what it has now


Now Maine Governor Paul LePage wants to go even further by cutting off eligibility for parents at the poverty line itself. If he succeeds, the couple would definitely lose their Medicaid coverage.

LePage, a Republican, also wants to limit eligibility for seniors, the disabled and young people. In all, the governor's cuts would trim the rolls of MaineCare, the state's Medicaid program, by more than 23,000 people and reduce benefits for nearly 3,800 others.

The governor argues the cuts are necessary because the rapid growth of the program, which is funded jointly by the federal government and the states, is squeezing Maine's budget. In 2011, Maine spent 28.6 percent of its budget on Medicaid, according to the Council of State Governments. The LePage administration says Maine has been too generous in the past, and that the proposed changes would bring the state closer in line to national averages on Medicaid funding and coverage rates.