The State of Maine will receive $35,000,000. or more for the Fund for Healthy Maine over the next twelve (12) months according to a press release issued on April 3, 2018 from the office of Attorney General Janet Mills in Augusta.
These additional funds are the result of six (6) months of negotiations with the major tobacco companies involved in the Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 (“MSA”). The new agreement does not change any of the original terms of the Settlement, but favorably concludes disputes covering thirteen (13) years of arbitrations regarding the “non-participating manufacturer adjustment.”
Under Maine law, the extra funds go to improving health care for Maine citizens, including health care for children and adults, maximizing to the extent possible federal matching funds.” In other words, these funds are available to pay for Medicaid expansion as enacted between people of Maine in the current biennium.
There is overwhelming evidence that states which take advantage of Medicaid expansion experience lower health care costs, healthier families and stronger economic growth. Expanding Medicaid in Maine will being in more than $500 M in federal dollars per year, create approximately 3,000 new jobs, stabilize rural hospitals that struggle with a high number of uninsured patients and most importantly, save lives. In part, providing access to addiction treatment and counseling will be critical to our efforts to address Maine’s terrible opiod crisis the press release explained.
The recent bipartisan study by Manatt Health, funded by the Maine Health Access Fund estimates that the state cost for Medicaid expansion in the current biennium to be approximately $30 million. This $30 M settlement will be more than adequate to fully implement Medicaid expansion through fiscal year 2019.
This settlement comes at a time when the legislator and the administration are looking for a way to pay for Medicaid expansion in the current biennium. The recent study by the bipartisan Manat Health estimates the state cost for Medicaid expansion to be $230,535,453, which includes $7.5 M for administrative costs. The funds from this settlement should be more than adequate to jump start this important initiative and perhaps restore needed tobacco prevention marketing practices – but about fighting the scourge of tobacco use and saving lives pure and simple. These additional funds will do just that according to the same press release issued on April 3, 2018,