The Maine House voted 86-56 on Tuesday to approve a bill that would make substantial changes to the troubled MaineCare rides program.
The House vote, mostly along party lines with Democrats being in favor, would cancel the contracts for MaineCare rides broker Connecticut-based Coordinated Transportation Solutions, and make it more likely that local transportation providers would win contracts to arrange rides for MaineCare patients when the state awards new contracts this summer.
The Senate voted 21-14 in favor of the bill Monday, but the bill’s chances of becoming law are uncertain as it faces a likely veto by Republican Gov. Paul LePage, lawmakers have said.
Neither the House nor the Senate reached the two-thirds margins necessary to override a veto.
Thousands of low-income Mainers have missed rides to medical appointments following the Aug. 1 launch of the new regional broker system.
Coordinated Transportation Solutions landed contracts for six of the state’s eight regions, with nonprofit Penquis winning the contract for the Bangor region and Atlanta-based Logisticare for the York County region. The state announced in January that Coordinated Transportation Solutions would not have its contracts renewed when they expire June 30, due to subpar performance.
Maine Department of Health and Human Services officials oppose the bill, arguing that changes being put in place will improve the system.
Democrats, meanwhile, say the changes are necessary because DHHS leaders mismanaged the MaineCare rides system.
The bill will require votes for final passage in the House and Senate before it lands on the governor’s desk for his signature or veto.