Heritage Foundation says Maine can save from Medicaid expansion

The conservative Heritage Foundation is out with a new series of infographics this week that outline what states have to lose or gain if they expand their Medicaid programs under the federal Affordable Care Act.

The Washington, D.C., think tank lays out its best predictions on whether each state will save or lose money from participating in the Medicaid expansion, which takes effect next year. The think tank’s best predictions are those contained in a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis from November that projects the state-by-state impact of expanding Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the low-income and disabled.

According to Kaiser, Maine is one of 10 states that could end up spending fewer state funds on Medicaid over the next decade if it expands the program. Kaiser estimates Maine’s total savings would be $690 million, a result of the federal government kicking in more money through higher Medicaid matching rates and a projected decrease in the amount of care hospitals will have to provide but for which they won’t be reimbursed.

Gov. Paul LePage, an outspoken Affordable Care Act critic, has remained opposed to expanding Medicaid in the state, noting Maine’s Medicaid program is already generous and frequently encounters budget shortfalls. Democrats who control both chambers of the Legislature plan to push for the expansion.

The Heritage Foundation hasn’t shifted positions on the Affordable Care Act. Its website urges its repeal, and the foundation describes Maine’s Medicaid expansion scenario this way:

Due to its overreaching Medicaid program, Maine would save $690 million from Medicaid expansion. The expansion provides states that already have above-average enrollment the opportunity to shift state-level programs onto the federal government.