The LePage administration said Monday that it will fight a state judge’s order directing the Governor to file paperwork to expand Medicaid services, despite the fact that Medicaid expansion was approved by Maine voters last year.
According to the Associated Press, on Friday Superior Court Justice Michaela Murphy denied a motion filed by the LePage administration, which does not want to submit a Medicaid expansion plan while the state’s high court considers an appeal of the issue in an expedited process. Murphy said LePage’s refusal to comply with the order could potentially engender disrespect for duly enacted laws.
Republican state Sen. Eric Brakey co-chairs the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee, and he says the courts are forcing the state to implement benefits that lawmakers haven’t funded.
“The Legislature hasn’t appropriated the funds, so how can you provide new services without money?” Brakey says. “And to enter into this contract with the federal government saying we are going to expand Medicaid without first knowing where the funds are going to come from, that’s a recipe for disaster.”
The LePage administration said the added benefits would cost the state $54 million annually, but expansion supporters argued it would cost substantially less.