PORTLAND, Maine — The Latest on the legal cost of a Medicaid expansion lawsuit in Maine (all times local):
A spokesman for Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills says Republican Gov. Paul LePage could address his concern over rising legal fees for Medicaid expansion if he followed the voter-approved law.
Spokesman Tim Feeley says Wednesday that Maine’s attorney general is not a “lapdog” of any specific administration. Feeley says Mills has taken the position that Medicaid expansion is the law of the land and the LePage administration should implement laws.
Mills is running for governor to succeed LePage, who can’t run again due to term limits.
Advocates for Medicaid expansion are suing to force Maine to follow a voter-approved law expanding Medicaid to up to 80,000 low-income residents
Maine’s health agency says taxpayers will pay for Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills’ refusal to represent the LePage administration in an ongoing lawsuit aiming to force Maine to roll-out Medicaid expansion.
Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Emily Spencer said Wednesday that Mills approved Republican Gov. Paul LePage administration’s use of outside counsel because of a conflict of interest Mills, the Democratic nominee for governor, had with Medicaid expansion.
Spencer said legal costs could amount up to $200,000 because the lawyer requires extra time and resources.
Mills’ office didn’t immediately respond to request for comment. The attorney general earlier this year proposed using one-time tobacco settlement funds to pay for voter-approved Medicaid expansion.
Maine could pay up to $200,000 for a Boston-based lawyer to defend the LePage administration in ongoing litigation over voter-approved Medicaid expansion.
The Department of Health and Human Services in a state form dated Monday proposed increasing the cost of a no-bid contract with law firm Consovoy McCarthy Park from $100,000 to $200,000.
Advocates for Medicaid expansion are suing to force Maine to follow a voter-approved law expanding Medicaid to 70,000 to 80,000 low-income residents. Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration is fighting a court order requiring Maine to seek federal funding for expansion.
Democratic Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Janet Mills has allowed LePage to seek outside counsel. She refused to defend LePage’s administration against the lawsuit.
Mills’ office and the LePage administration didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.