House Passes MaineCare Expansion, Gov Wants Change

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine House on Monday approved a bill to expand the state's Medicaid program to include roughly 70,000 more people, a key component of the national Affordable Care Act.

Representatives voted 89-51 for the bill Monday, adding changes aimed at mitigating worries of Republicans who've opposed expansion in past votes. The amended version says the state can opt out of the Medicaid expansion if the federal government doesn't match its share of the cost as promised. The bill faces a Senate vote as early as Tuesday.

Last week, the federal Health and Human Services Department confirmed it will pay 100 percent of the cost of expansion for the three calendar years starting in 2014, reaching 90 percent in 2020. But minority Republicans have remained concerned about potential expense to the state despite government promises, saying it will cost $400 million in Maine taxpayers' money in the seven years after the first three-year full-coverage period.

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Source: Bloomberg Businessweek