- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - A Maine legislative panel has given approval to a bill that would cancel the state’s nearly $1 million contract with a consultant examining its Medicaid program.

The Health and Human Services committee voted 7-6 on Wednesday in favor of canceling the contract with the Alexander Group, led by the former welfare chief of Pennsylvania and Rhode Island Gary Alexander.

Democrats have heavily criticized the report produced by the group, which estimated that expanding Medicaid under the federal health care law would cost the state more than $800 million over the next decade. The state awaits further reports on other aspects of the program.

Republicans say the bill is politically motivated. Gov. Paul LePage’s administration has said the group is uniquely qualified to help the state improve its Medicaid program.

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