Day 39 – Medicaid at 50: State Highlight: Maine

Today we have a special guest blogger! Mitchell Stein. Mitchell is the Policy and Communications Director, Institute for Clinical and Economic Review and former Mainer. You should follow him on Twitter.

Maine is the oldest and least diverse state in the nation and its politics are complex, but I love it nonetheless.

As frustrating and inconsistent as it can be, it does great things.  Currently, Maine covers approximately 284,000 people in Medicaid and CHIP out of a population of 1.33 million.  Its CHIP participation rate of 92% is the seventh highest in the nation.

While historically, it has been a national leader in health reform (more about that in a bit), to date it has not taken part in the Medicaid Expansion. In fact it unsuccessfully attempted to sue the Federal Government over the ACA’s Maintenance of Effort provision.  It did so because it wanted to eliminate Medicaid coverage for 19 and 20 year olds.

And yet, even today, Maine and its Medicaid program are doing good work.  Maine was one of the first six states to receive a State Innovation Model grant.  The overall goal of the grant is to help Maine achieve the “Triple Aim”.  To reach that goal, work is underway on a myriad of initiatives covering; payment reform, delivery system reform, data analytics and reporting, health information technology (HIT), and consumer engagement.

Historically it has been a national leader in health reform.  Through its Dirigo program it attempted to accomplish many of the goals of the Affordable Care Act a decade before the Affordable Care Act was passed.

While no one knows what the future will bring, I remain optimistic, that while it may be in fits and starts, Maine will continue to expand coverage and do well for its residents.

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