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Attorney General plans to use tobacco settlement money for Medicaid expansion

Attorney General Janet Mills said Maine will be getting an extra $35 million this year. (WGME)

PORTLAND (WGME) – As Maine legislators try and figure out how to fund Medicaid expansion by the summer, the attorney general says she's found the money to do it.

The money comes from a settlement with major tobacco companies that happened back in the '90s, but Tuesday, Attorney General Janet Mills said Maine will be getting an extra $35 million this year.

AG Mills made the announcement Tuesday at the State House.

She says the $35 million can easily be used to fund Medicaid expansion, which Maine voters approved last year.

Tuesday is the deadline for the Department of Health and Human Services to submit a plan to the federal government regarding how Maine will move forward with Medicaid expansion, but there is no indication that has happened yet.

Mills says this money will help get it implemented.

"The law is the law; Medicaid expansion was enacted into law by the people,” Mills said. “There's really no, in my view, legal way around that. The funds are available to get us through the biennium."

Mills says the legislature will have to approve the use of the money.

Governor LePage's office says they plan to release a statement about Mills’ plan, but for months the governor has said he won’t take any steps to expand Medicaid in Maine until lawmakers provide funding without raising taxes.

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