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LePage to mark state’s final MaineCare payment Wednesday in Lewiston

Bangor Daily News/Christopher Cousins | Bangor Daily News/Christopher Cousins
Bangor Daily News/Christopher Cousins | Bangor Daily News/Christopher Cousins
Gov. Paul LePage speaks with reporters on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, outside the State House.
By Scott Thistle, Sun Journal

LEWISTON, Maine — Maine Gov. Paul LePage will visit Central Maine Medical Center on Wednesday to deliver the news the state is making good on a $183 million debt it has owed the state’s 39 hospitals beginning in 2009.

The state payment for past services provided under MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid system, will trigger a federal matching amount bringing the total payment to hospitals to more than $490 million.

LePage quipped he would deliver the news “Publisher’s Clearinghouse” style with a giant check, but later said he was simply glad the state was finally making good on its debt.

Paying the debt has been a focal point of LePage’s administration and an issue he campaigned on in 2010, promising he would get the hospitals paid, if elected.

“It’s not a windfall. It’s paying our bills to them, but it’s putting money into the state’s economy,” LePage told the Sun Journal during an interview Friday.

LePage also said he didn’t care who took ultimate credit for paying the hospitals off.

“I don’t care who did it, just that it gets done. And frankly, if the Democrats want to take credit for paying the hospitals, go right ahead, fine with me. All I know is the hospitals are paid — to me it’s not who did it, it’s that it’s done,” LePage said. “Like Nike says, ‘Just do it.’ That’s what it’s about — get it done.”

LePage will visit CMMC at 2 p.m. after an 11:15 a.m. stop at Inland Hospital in Waterville.

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