LePage pitches hospital repayment plan

Associated Press

Gov. Paul LePage is pitching his plan to settle a $484 million debt to hospitals for past Medicaid services with income from liquor sales.

AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage says Mainers shouldn't be asked to wait for years to be paid for their work.

But in his weekly radio address Saturday, LePage says that's what the state is doing to Maine's hospitals.

The governor pitched his plan to settle a $484 million debt to hospitals for past Medicaid services, with income from liquor sales. LePage says a 10-year private contract for liquor sales, which expires in mid-2014, has cost Maine hundreds of millions of dollars, and his plan would return these revenues to the state.

In the Democratic response, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash says the $6.3 billion two-year budget proposed by LePage shifts more than $420 million in expenses to towns and cities, which will force them to cut essential services or raise property taxes.

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Comments

Debra Shannon's picture

Overpayment

Whatever happened to CMMC's overpayment from the State of Maine? I believe it was $115 Million. Did that ever come back to Maine? I highly doubt it. As I understand and agree that bills should be paid, I find it odd that hospitals have no money. I see most of them buying a lot of buildings and land and then laying off much needed healthcare workers. Are they still classified as Not For Profit? Seems like if you have no payments and no profit it would be difficult to keep buying property on MAIN Street. We are all going to pay for this one way or the other, but it seems to me that Paul Lepage was promoted by the hospitals and feels indebted to them for that.

Thomas Hamilton's picture

$484 million debt to hospitals

How long has the state been cheating hospitals and physicians out of fair payment? Treating indigent patients at reduced cost is fine but to delay payment for years and develop a debt of $484 million unconscionable. The am afraid the time is coming when physicians will refuse to accept Medicate patients in the state of Maine.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Lets see if I get this.....

Paul LePage has decided to pay $484 million dollars for back Mainecare debt. How many years did it take to acquire this debt, and who should have been responsible for paying it in the first place?
For a Governor who hates to take on additional debt, he sure likes the idea of screwing the people of Maine out of money we're not going to be collecting until next year sometime. Every city and town is scrambling to make up the shortage in State Aid, by cutting services and eventually raising taxes.
Who are the people that will suffer from this political side show? Just yesterday I visited a friend, she lives alone, is totally disabled and living on a very low fixed income. She heard from her local heating assistance program, a service she has counted on in the past. She is entitled to exactly one hundred twenty gallons of heating oil for the year. Not to comforting for someone living in Maine in the winter time. She won't go without, I'll make sure of that, but who's going to help the thousands of others out there who have no options? I just can't stand the idea that LePage just cuts services and assistance to everyone across the board, when we all can least afford it, just to fulfill a campaign promise. When I say "Campaign Promise", I'm not talking about debt relief, I'm talking about the governor forcing towns and cities to require tax increases, so he can maintain his "NO NEW TAXES" promise.
Yes, many people in this State are going to suffer, not only with no services, but higher property taxes. Paul LePage thinks he'll come out of this smelling like a rose, after all, isn't that what really counts????????

MARK GRAVE's picture

Firstly, the state government

Firstly, the state government should have not acquired the debt in the first place. Once the previous governor saw that revenue did not match outflow, he should have scaled back spending immediately.

I give kudos to Gov. LaPage for trying to be fiscally responsible. He is behaving like an adult and cutting back on services to balance the budget. Perhaps something you are not custom to seeing. If towns what more goods and services, let the town raise taxes. If property tax get too high, then let the people move, which is self-correcting for high taxes.

Lastly, if you cannot stand the cold, get out of Maine.

AL PELLETIER's picture

It's the big one, Lizabeth!

I agree with you, Mark. For 8 years Baldacci rode the gravy train and all kinds of programs began without using any foresight that if the economy went south, how the hell would we pay for them. ( Kinda like Bush getting us into 2 wars without the money to pay for them and Obama has to figure out how to deal with it).
Now Lepage has to pay the Baldacci's fiddler. The money Baldacci envisioned would always be there---ain't.
My property taxes went up $200 last year and they will probably go up again, but I don't blame Lepage.
Just like the Republicans screwed up our country for 8 years, the Democrats screwed up our state for 8 years. Fair enough?

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Lets put the blame where it belongs....

The debt is the responsibility of whoever instituted MaineCare. I didn't come up with the idea, no one I know had anything to do with it. I do know, it was an ill conceived plan to begin with. I never thought it had a chance to work. I wasn't the only one back then. Imagine the audacity, people saying the program would outspend itself, that it wasn't funded properly.
Now here we are, flat broke, many people depending on a program spiraling into the ground at top speed, and a large group of people, such as myself, who never had anything to do with MaineCare, yet who stand in line with everyone else to suffer the effects and oversights of a doomed program.
Now, where do we put the blame? was it me? Was it my neighborhood, my town? No on all counts, nothing I or a lot of people I know, ever did, had anything to do with MaineCare. We all know where the blame lies, but here's something funny, I have no problem in helping to do my part in repaying the hospitals. I just feel it should be accomplished responsibly and as painlessly as possible. When taxes are raised, and services are denied who suffers? Shouldn't I be allowed to enjoy the benefits of my tax dollars to the state? Explain to me why I should just roll over and play dead, just because one extremely dim witted politician decides to use all my tax money to pay his pet project. I don't see any suffering from the Blaine House. No he won't see any cuts in his benefits.
I'm sorry, I can't share your blind support of a man with LePage's track record for doing stupid things. I'm just counting the days until maybe we can get some intelligence, and logic, into the State House, until then I just have to watch out not to acquire any spare taxable income....

MARK GRAVE's picture

The problem starts with you

The problem starts with you and other people thinking that the government can take care of you. Name one government program that does not run over budget. There is simply not enough revenue to go around – period – yet governments keep promising more stuff. You think MaineCare failed, wait until you see ACA go belly up.

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Just one question????

How am I expecting the government to take care of me?????

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