The Legislature’s Appropriations Committee voted late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning on key budget changes to help close a gap at the Department of Health and Human Services.

The committee voted unanimously to cap spending on Medicaid provided to childless adults. While Gov. Paul LePage had recommended eliminating the program, the committee voted to cut the funding in half, which allows those currently enrolled to continue to have health insurance through the program. The $11 million in savings will come from extending a freeze on new enrollees and through attrition.

The committee was also unanimous in its support for tightening income guidelines for parents of children who are on Medicaid to save an additional $7.2 million.

The committee met in public for the first time Tuesday at 11:50 p.m. Senate Chairman Richard Rosen, R-Bucksport, said although the committee had missed the deadline to finish work, it was his intention to report out a bill today for House and Senate consideration.

The committee would like to see swift legislative action on a portion of a $221 million shortfall at the department to get the state through the current fiscal year. Also, it is hoping the full Legislature will approve an additional $25 million in cuts suggested by an independent commission.

At 12:26 a.m., the committee was meeting in partisan caucuses, but was expected to return for additional votes.

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