The Coastal Packet: Medicaid expansion and the governor's race

Monday, October 8

Medicaid expansion and the governor's race

Think Progress - Nearly 59 percent of Mainers voted to expand Medicaid last November in an unprecedented ballot referendum. LePage ignored the binding vote for months, going as far as saying he “will go to jail before I put the state in red ink” by adding to the state’s Medicaid rolls and expanding insurance eligibility up to 138 percent of poverty level, or $34,638 for a family of four. The governor finally asked the Trump administration to expand Medicaid 10 months after the historic vote, while simultaneously calling on the president to reject it.

The governor’s office also didn’t ask for 9-to-1 federal-state matching funds between July 2 and Sept. 4, a period during which LePage stalled despite a court order. Meanwhile, the lawsuit that pressured LePage into submitting a state plan amendment in September is ongoing and likely won’t end until a supportive governor is in Augusta.

Midterm elections in Maine could put an end to the obstructionism, depending on who is elected to replace LePage.

“Voters have clear choices to make this November between candidates who share their goal of providing affordable, accessible health care options — particularly through Medicaid expansion — and candidates who want to find ways to obstruct and delay, dismantle existing protections, and ignore the law,” said Robyn Merrill, executive director with Maine Equal Justice Partners), the advocacy group leading the lawsuit.

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