AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage will appear at two of Maine’s hospitals to applaud the state’s move to finally pay the hospitals nearly $500 million in unpaid Medicaid services this week.

The Republican governor will be at the Inland Hospital in Waterville and Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston on Wednesday.

Repaying the hospitals was one of LePage’s top legislative priorities. He says the long-standing debt has hurt Maine’s economy.

Hospital officials say the payments will bring relief, but won’t provide a remedy for higher taxes they’re paying and lower reimbursements they’re receiving for medical services.

The state recently sold a $220 million liquor operation revenue bond, which will be paid off with anticipated revenues from a restructured liquor contract, to pay back the hospitals.

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