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February 17, 2012 | last updated February 17, 2012 11:29 am

Senate rejects budget following House approval

The Maine House yesterday voted to pass a budget that would fill an immediate $120 million shortfall in the Department of Health and Human Services, but the Senate voted against it.

The House voted 109-27 in favor of the supplemental budget, a product of a compromise brokered by the appropriations committee, according to a press release. The House passed a last-minute amendment that drops the tax rate on insurance claims with Dirigo Health, restores an estimated $14 million in hospital funding and establishes a sunset date to phase out childless adults from receiving MaineCare. According to a statement from Sen. President Kevin Raye, Senate Democrats shot down the budget proposal because the last-minute changes had not been officially approved by the appropriations committee, though committee members did indicate their support. Twelve Senate Democrats voted against the measure. The Senate is expected to revisit the bill next Tuesday.

The plan would plug the DHHS budget hole for this fiscal year, which ends June 30, and includes transferring $59 million from the next fiscal year to this one; cutting $20 million from Dirigo Health and hospitals; saving $11 million by freezing enrollment for and eventually eliminating MaineCare for childless adults; and recouping $11 million in MaineCare overpayments.

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