AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - The first part of a report that has generated a lot of controversy in Maine is publicly released.
The Lepage administration hired the conservative Alexander Group to study the state's welfare system. In a report released today it found the state can not afford to expand Medicaid to an additional 70-thousand Mainers as being proposed by Democrats.
While the Federal Government will pick up initial costs of the expansion Gary Alexander says his study shows that expansion could cost the state more than 800-million dollars over the next 10-years.
The report provides just the kind of ammunition Governor LePage is looking for in his fight to trim the state's welfare programs.
"Clearly Maine cannot afford this type of expense the Medicaid program for more than a decade has been in a constant state of financial crisis", said DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew.
Democratic critics say the report provides just what they expected, that's why the Governor hired the conservative group to conduct the study. They say the report leaves out the benefits the state will get through expanded health care.
"The purpose of these programs is to keep people healthy to make sure they can stay healthy stay employed and get on the workforce and for a lot of people worked themselves out of poverty", said Drew Gattine (D), a member of the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee.
Alexander is expected to appear before the Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee when it meets to take up the expansion bill on Tuesday.