In a disappointing decision, the federal Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston upheld a Maine law proposed by the LePage administration to deny MaineCare benefits to certain legal immigrants.
In 1996 Congress stopped federal funding for non-emergency MaineCare for legal immigrants who had been in the United States for less than five (5) years. However, Maine decided to keep full MaineCare for these new Mainers. That changed in 2011 when the Maine legislature decided to eliminate the funding; the program served about 500 new Mainers at that time.
Maine Equal Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine and pro bono attorney Jennifer Archer of the firm Kelly, Remmel & Zimmerman filed the class action lawsuit on behalf of these individuals in 2012. Because the lawsuit was not successful, we hope to find opportunities to reinstate these benefits when the new legislature meets in 2015.