/ Associated Press, March 12, 2013

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- As a legislative committee took up competing plans to pay Maine's $484 million debt to the state's hospitals for past Medicaid debts, Gov. Paul LePage on Monday signaled for the first time a willingness to discuss expansion of Medicaid under the national health care law. But LePage rejected Democratic efforts to link Medicaid expansion with paying the debt to Maine's nearly 40 hospitals. The change in posture came as the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee held a hearing on a pair of bills to repay the hospitals in a single chunk for its Medicaid debt, a measure LePage said will stimulate hundreds of jobs in health care and construction.

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