Morning Sentinel / Maine Today, December 20, 2012
Owed $484 million in overdue Medicaid reimbursements, Maine's 39 hospitals are pushing state legislators to find a way to start paying off a debt that's forcing some medical centers to reduce staff, delay capital improvements and borrow money to pay bills. The state's share of the debt is $186 million, but some of it dates back to 2009, and it's blocking about $298 million in federal matching funds that some hospital officials say they need desperately. Their lobbying effort—advertisements in newspapers, meetings with lawmakers—comes as legislators prepare to deal with a projected $120 million revenue shortfall in the state's current Medicaid budget. The reimbursement debt affects hospitals large and small across the state.