AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – Maine hospitals have received electronic payments from the state for nearly $500 million to pay back decades of debt for unpaid Medicaid services.
Republican Gov. Paul LePage visited the Inland Hospital in Waterville and Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston on Wednesday and ceremoniously handed hospital officials their checks.
The hospitals are welcoming the payments but say they aren’t a windfall. Hospitals are also facing higher taxes and lower reimbursements for medical services.
LePage points to the long-standing hospital debt as the reason that the state shouldn’t expand Medicaid coverage under the federal health care overhaul. LePage says that expanding Medicaid a decade ago caused the mounting debt for the unpaid Medicaid services.
But Democrats say hospitals would benefit greatly from the expansion.