- Associated Press - Monday, February 10, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine Democrats said Monday that they’re introducing a bill to cancel the state’s nearly $1 million contract with a consultant examining the state’s Medicaid program.

Democrats have blasted Republican Gov. Paul LePage administration’s decision to hire the Alexander Group since it was made public in November. They said Monday that the contract is “one more in a series of mismanagement errors from Gov. LePage that is costing taxpayers lots of money with little positive outcome.”

“This kind of mismanagement has got to come to an end and this is where we need to start,” Rep. Richard Farnsworth, a Democrat from Portland and co-chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, said in a statement.

The group released a report last month that concluded that Medicaid under President Barack Obama’s signature health care law would cost the state $807 million over the next decade. Democrats have called the report flawed and politically motivated.

The Alexander Group, led by former welfare chief of Pennsylvania and Rhode Island Gary Alexander, is expected to deliver further reports to the state on issues like potential reforms to Maine’s welfare programs.

House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport said the bill was evidence that Democrats are using the Legislature to campaign against the governor this year.

“Instead of scoring political points, Democrats should help us find solutions to the countless fiscal and economic problems cause by their decades of one-party rule.”

LePage’s administration defended the group’s track record, “especially in helping states gain flexibility within Medicaid in order to use resources to address the unmet needs of those who are elderly, disable and the State’s most vulnerable.”

“This is a blatant attempt by partisan lawmakers to discredit a thorough and accurate report from a national Medicaid expert that does not support their political position on Medicaid expansion,” John Martins, spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said in an email.

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