Maine’s Republican governor is publicly laying out a proposed tax hike on hospitals to pay for voter-approved Medicaid expansion.

Gov. Paul LePage’s office says Medicaid expansion will offset a tax hike by decreasing charity care and bad debt. Maine’s hospital tax rate is 2.23 percent, and Rabinowitz said Maine could go up to six percent.

Maine Hospital Association lobbyist Jeffrey Austin previously told The Associated Press that Maine hospitals pay $100 million in annual taxes and would oppose an increase.

Mainers voted last fall to expand Medicaid to 80,000 low-income adults.

LePage’s administration is fighting litigation by advocates calling on the governor to stop blocking expansion. LePage vetoed legislation funding Maine’s share of expansion with surplus and tobacco settlement funds after he argued lawmakers must fund expansion without raising taxes.

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Governor says hospital tax could cover Medicaid expansion