Crown Politics

What’s next in the bureaucratic fight over Medicaid expansion

Good morning from Augusta, where the new place to watch the fight on Medicaid expansion will be within the state’s bureaucracy. Monday was the day that Mainers are eligible for coverage in those expanded categories under the law approved by voters last year.

Advocates are assuring eligible people that they can get coverage back to July 2  — eventually, given the existing legal fight over expansion. The administration of Gov. Paul LePage, an expansion opponent, isn’t saying much. But the governor intimated last month that the state could reject applications out of hand if it has too many to process.

A lawyer for advocates says they expect the state to handle applications normally at first. The July 2 deadline is the deadline by which more than 70,000 Mainers are supposed to be eligible for expanded coverage. Maine Equal Justice Partners, a progressive group that advocated for expansion, is urging eligible people to apply and has created an online screening tool.

What’s unclear is how the department will treat applications. LePage said in a radio address last month that it would be “impossible” for staff to handle a rush of applications within the 45-day window allowed by law. If the state doesn’t process an application within that period, the person become eligible for coverage.

To read the rest of “What’s next in the bureaucratic fight over Medicaid expansion,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer Michael Shepherd, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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