January 23, 2011; Source: Maine Sunday Telegram | In Maine, the state’s nonprofit community and psychiatric hospitals have been waiting since 2007 to have the state pay what it owes them in Medicaid payments. The state only pays the hospitals 75 percent of the cost of care for low-income patients in the first place but their method of payment makes the situation far worse. The state pays an estimated amount each week and then is supposed to make a settlement at the end of the year for anything it owes above what it has paid. The problem is that it has not made any of these settlements since 2007 and it now owes $250 million. This is not the first time Maine has built up these kinds of arrearages. The former administration and legislature had to settle a similar debt from the period of 2003 – 2006. Apparently, as this article states, the “underlying problem did not get solved.” Why do we think that it would have gotten solved if these were tax bills owing to the state instead of payments owed to nonprofits?—Ruth McCambridge
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