AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The state Senate on Wednesday upheld Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill to repay a $484 million debt to Maine hospitals and expand Medicaid, as the override effort led by majority Democrats fell four votes shy of keeping the bill alive.
Senators’ 20-15 vote followed party lines, as Democrats made a final pitch to pay the hospitals while expanding Medicaid coverage to roughly 70,000 people.
The Medicaid expansion component would tap federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) Medicaid expansion funding.
“Make no mistake about it, if we vote today and do not override this veto, you’re voting against paying back the hospitals, you’re voting against providing health care to 70,000″ people, said Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall, D-Richmond.
The GOP leader, Sen. Michael Thibodeau of Winterport, said his party would be glad to consider the proposed expansion of Medicaid — known in the state as MaineCare — provided it is done as a separate bill. Legislation to that effect has been presented.