Alan Caron (I): Yes. I would pay for it by growing the economy and streamlining government, which would allow the state to direct more resources to health care.
Terry Hayes (I): The Hayes administration will implement the will of Maine voters and accept the federal funds available under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to expand MaineCare. This will provide insurance coverage to nearly 70,000 of our working poor, and in turn these Mainers will be able to access regular doctor’s visits, vaccinations, and other forms of preventive care as well as addiction treatment and counseling. At the same time, the Hayes administration will take full advantage of the ACA’s opportunities to muscle down on costs through innovation, expanding access to more cost-effective home and community-based services, and focusing on wellness, prevention, and quality of life.The current level of MaineCare reimbursement rates and the inability of the Maine Legislature to fix this problem is creating a crisis for families and providers across Maine. Maine has set the MaineCare reimbursement rate for hospitals at a rate that covers about 72% of the actual cost of treating these patients in a Maine hospital. The resulting underpayments shift costs to commercial payers and contribute to almost half of Maine hospitals operating with negative operating margins and potential nursing home closures. This system of persistent under-reimbursement is unsustainable. The Hayes administration will work with all providers and with the Legislature to devise solutions that lower the overall costs and increase the reimbursement rates.
Janet Mills (D): Health care is vital to thousands of people, businesses, and so many others across the state, which is why I agree with members of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce that Medicaid expansion is good for business and good for the people of Maine. Like many Mainers, I have had enough of the Chief Executive standing in the way of Medicaid expansion and obstructing the will of the people. Medicaid expansion will provide cost effective, preventive care and improve our workforce. It will inject millions of dollars into our economy. It will create jobs, lower health care costs and keep our rural hospitals open. I am the only candidate who has found funding for Medicaid expansion ($35 million). The money is there, and if elected, I will implement the law immediately. From the health of our people to the health of our economy, there is too much at stake not to do this.
Shawn Moody (R): Medicaid expansion is the law of the land. I will implement and enforce the law with a sustainable and responsible funding plan from the Legislature. It is the constitutional responsibility of the Legislature to appropriate the funds required for expansion. I do not believe that a sustainable or responsible funding plan requires raising taxes, raiding the state’s rainy day fund, or using other one-time budget gimmicks. We cannot jeopardize the long-term, fiscal health of the state. We need to get all stakeholders around the table to develop a plan. Moving forward, I am committed to tackling the tough issues facing Maine and to building a strong safety net for our most vulnerable populations, including those that are on wait lists for services with intellectual and developmental disabilities.