Maine's Republican Gov. Paul LePage on Friday signed a bill authorizing the state to pay off hundreds of millions of dollars owed to Maine's hospitals for Medicaid services, but he remained silent on whether he plans to approve the state's budget or a proposal to expand healthcare coverage under the federal healthcare overhaul.
Maine lawmakers worked late into the night Thursday to pass three of the most significant pieces of legislation this session, including the bill to pay the state's hospitals — one of LePage's top priorities since taking office in 2011.
Lawmakers unanimously approved the bill that lays out a plan for paying the hospital debt. The hospitals will receive $490 million in combined state and federal dollars. The state will pay $183.5 million, which will come from bonds that will be paid off with anticipated revenues from a restructured, 10-year liquor contract. The federal government will pay off the rest of the debt.