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Gov. LePage Spent $53K Trying To Kick Young People Off Medicaid

Mills refused to represent the administration because the case had “little legal merit” and “wouldn’t be a good use of time and money,” she said in an interview this month.
Gov. LePage Spent $53K Trying To Kick Young People Off Medicaid
Image from: MaineDOE

LePage is another libertarian whack job who thinks his job is to impose his philosophy on the government:

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage’s administration spent nearly $53,000 on private lawyers in its failed attempt to remove thousands of low-income young adults from the state’s Medicaid program after being told by Maine’s attorney general that he couldn’t win the case, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

The Republican governor went to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals after the federal government denied his request to end Medicaid coverage for about 6,000 19- and 20-year olds. He was forced to seek outside counsel after Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat, declined to represent the state.

Mills refused to represent the administration because the case had “little legal merit” and “wouldn’t be a good use of time and money,” she said in an interview this month. She even joined the federal government in fighting LePage’s effort in court.

But she allowed the governor to hire outside counsel because of the earnestness of his position and because she said it’s not her “aim to prevent the governor, as the chief executive, from pursuing public policy in initiatives.”

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services paid $51,918 to Portland law firm Roach, Hewitt, Ruprecht, Sanchez & Bischoff from June to December, according to documents provided to the AP through a Freedom of Access Act request. An additional $751 was paid to the firm through LePage’s office before the money was transferred to DHHS, documents from his office show.

All payments came from the governor’s contingency fund, which he can, for the most part, use at his discretion.

A federal appeals court in November sided with the federal government in rejecting LePage’s request. The court agreed that Maine can’t roll back coverage for 19- and 20-year-olds because the Affordable Care Act requires states to maintain their level of coverage for children until 2019.

Jack Comart, litigation director for Maine Equal Justice Partners, which opposed the governor’s move, said the private lawyer representing the administration “made the best out of a bad case.”

“But the court found no merit in their arguments,” he said. “So it was not a good use of taxpayer dollars.”

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