AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The state of Maine is suing the federal government for failing to act swiftly on its Aug. 1 waiver request seeking to eliminate Medicaid coverage for more than 20,000 residents, demanding that the federal government either approve the waiver or pay the difference in coverage.
The lawsuit was filed Tuesday after the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services informed the state Friday that it needed more time to review the state's request.
A CMS spokesman said Tuesday that CMS could not comment on pending litigation but said it sent a letter to the state last week indicating that it would review the state's request and render a decision as soon as the review is complete.
The Republican-controlled Maine Legislature voted to eliminate coverage for parents with incomes between 100 percent and 133 percent of the federal poverty level, along with 19- and 20-year-olds, and seniors and disabled people in the Medicare Savings Program.
Maine Attorney General William Schneider said the state needs the Medicaid waiver to achieve budget savings and he said there's no reason to delay approval.
"Maine's standards in these areas still remain at or greater than the federal minimums with the proposed MaineCare eligibility changes," he said.