The U.S. Supreme Court won't hear arguments on a case brought by Maine Gov. Paul LePage looking to drop MaineCare coverage for 19-and 20-year-olds, said Maine Attorney General Janet Mills.
Mills said she has been opposed to the change pushed by LePage and has cited a lack of legal merit for his position. The high court made the ruling June 8, the third time a court has ruled against LePage.
“The unanimous decision by the three-judge panel of the First Circuit was correct and there was no reason for the U.S. Supreme Court to take this case,” Mills said June 8. “I respect the earnestness with which the governor sought to advance his argument, but I have felt all along that it lacked legal merit. As an independent constitutional officer, I take seriously my duty to offer unvarnished legal advice and to uphold the rule of law, and I will continue to do so.”
LePage's administration sought a waiver in 2012 from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to drop the coverage for 19-and 20-year-olds from the state's Medicaid program. The age group has been covered since 1991, and the Affordable Care Act requires coverage until 2019. The office denied LePage's request, and the denial was upheld by an administrative hearing. The case was appealed to federal court where it was again denied in November.
“Many of these young Mainers are in transition from childhood to adulthood, are working at the corner store, the big box stores, the gas stations and the doughnut shops, trying to make a living in this state,” Mills said. “If they break a leg, if they are hit by a car or if they require hospitalization, they have no way to pay for it. No other insurance is available except the safety net of MaineCare.”