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Maine takes legal action to get Medicaid cuts approved; court rejects lawsuit

Posted on September 13, 2012 | No Comments

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Maine Attorney General William Schneider filed documents with the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston requesting review of a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) determination that it would not be able to grant Maine’s request for an expedited ruling on the state’s August 1 proposed state plan amendment (SPA), which makes significant cuts to their Medicaid program. Schneider also asked the court to order federal officials to pay Maine’s share of related Medicaid expenses for the time they take in considering the request.

By law, the federal government has 90 days to rule on the Medicaid consolidation request. The Maine department of Health and Human Services had planned to implement the Medicaid cuts by October 1. However, if the government employs the full 90-day time frame to rule on state’s request, Maine could be waiting on a decision until the end of October.

In a one page decision filed today, the court threw out the LePage lawsuit.

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Last week, Maine Governor Paul LePage (Republican) accused the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of "delaying tactics," after CMS requested more information regarding Maine's Medicaid cuts. The CMS request, sent October 26, "could have been answered with a quick telephone call," according to a letter LePage wrote to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The request will restart a 90-day review period for the agency to examine Maine's request to enact cuts to the state's Medicaid program. Maine's proposed cuts would impact over 27,000 low-income residents, ending coverage for 19- and 20- year-olds and reducing coverage for nonpregnant and nondisabled adults with incomes above 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). Maine sent the original proposal to CMS on August 1 and asked the agency to review it before October 1.
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