AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- While Democratic and Republican leaders of the Maine Legislature stand firm on the issue of expanding Medicaid -Democrats for, Republicans against - a handful of Republicans look for a compromise that could help pass the expansion plan.
There are few details being made public right now, but key members of the discussions say they are trying to develop some amendments to jelp control the rising cost of the Maine Care health insurance program, and possibly require Maine Care patients to make co-pays or reduce non-emergency use of hospital emergency rooms. Rep. Corey Wilson (R-Augusta) tells NEWS CENTER he hopes they can find ways to "bend the curve" to at least slow the increase in Maine Care costs, and possibly bring costs more under control.
The Maine State Chamber of commerce has been asked by legislators on both sides to help negotiate a compromise. Chamber President Dana Connors says the discussion is no longer "just an up or down vote on Me3dicaid expansion. The question is what else needs to be part of the package is the debate right now."
Sen. Roger Katz (R-Augusta) says some changes to Medicaid rules could require a waiver from the federal government, which pays much of the cost of Medicaid. Katz says waivers are difficult and time consuming to obtain, therefore negotiators are trying to avoid proposals that would require a waiver.