Maine governor proposes extra Medicaid payments to hospitals

Maine's newly elected governor has proposed paying 36 of the state's hospitals for overdue Medicaid bills, some of which date back to 2006, reports Healthcare Finance News.

Paul LePage submitted a supplemental budget to lawmakers that includes $248 million additional funding for Medicaid. Of that, $69.5 million would come from the state's coffers, while federal matching funds would contribute the remainder, boosted in part by more generous payments from the federal stimulus package.

"It's purely a very fiscally responsible budget," LePage said. "It addresses fiscal responsibility, saving jobs in healthcare and simplifying the tax codes."

In addition to the money for hospitals, LePage has proposed more funds to the state's Department of Health and Human Services to continue operating the Medicaid program, and more money to cover a recent surge in enrollees.

LePage's gestures seem a departure from the heated missives he lobbed during the gubernatorial campaign, when the Republican severely criticized the Obama administration and even said President Obama should go to hell.

Overall, Maine owes its hospitals nearly $400 million in missed Medicaid payments. LePage said he hopes to make up for the entire shortfall over the next budget, which covers two years of expenditures.

For more:
- read the Healthcare Finance News article
- read the Associated Press article