Mills, a Democrat, was sworn in as the state's 75th governor Wednesday evening, and by Thursday afternoon, she fulfilled a campaign promise by moving to begin implementing expansion -- which was blocked by
"This thing has been pending too long," Mills said during a Thursday afternoon news conference.
Last month, a state court judge rejected LePage's attempt to stall an earlier ruling forcing his administration to implement the law, but it pushed the implementation date to
Mills directed DHHS to begin implementation on Thursday, ordering it to partner with health care providers and patients to provide a communications and outreach strategy to help enroll eligible Mainers to speed up application processing. Between a July deadline for coverage in the law and late September, the state said 3,500 applications had been denied.
The new governor answered questions about the order on Thursday in her office with
In addition to the executive order, Mills submitted a letter to federal regulators, laying out plans to implement expansion and attempting to answer questions they had raised about an expansion plan submitted by LePage's administration after the judge's December decision.
The question will now turn to funding the law. When Mills was attorney general last year, she proposed funding expansion in the short term by using tobacco settlement money. LePage vetoed a later legislative plan that incorporated some of that money.
On Thursday, Mills told reporters that she would submit a sustainable funding plan to the Legislature as part of her two-year budget proposal be released later this month.
"I want a sustainable economy," Dow said.
Mills also told reporters she continues to study LePage's request to attach work requirements and other limits to Medicaid eligibility, which was approved by the administration of President
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