Portland Press Herald, May 1, 2013

AUGUSTA — A representative of Maine's hospitals said Monday he is surprised and disappointed that Democratic lawmakers want to combine a decision on Medicaid expansion with a proposal to pay a $186 million debt to hospitals. While hospitals support both the debt payment and expanding Medicaid coverage to 55,000 additional Mainers, differing time frames for legislative action mean that linking the two issues could slow down the payment of $484 million in state and federal money owed to hospitals, said Jeffrey Austin, lobbyist for the Maine Hospital Association. If Maine pays the hospitals money owed for past care provided to Medicaid patients before October, the state will save $5 million, he said.

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