Maine Voters Approve Medicaid Expansion, a Rebuke of Gov. LePage

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Volunteers met within the Maine People’s Alliance office before going door to door to urge voters to back Medicaid expansion in Bangor, Me., in October.

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Sarah Rice for The brand-new York Times

Voters in Maine approved a ballot measure on Tuesday to allow many more low-income residents to qualify for Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, The Associated Press said. The vote was a rebuke of Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican who has repeatedly vetoed legislation to expand Medicaid.

At least 80,000 additional Maine residents will become eligible for Medicaid as a result of the referendum. Maine will be the 32nd state to expand the program under the health law, nevertheless the first where voters, not governors or legislators, decided the issue. different states whose leaders have resisted expanding the program were closely watching the campaign, particularly Utah as well as Idaho, where newly formed committees are working to get Medicaid expansion on next year’s ballots.

Supporters, including advocacy groups in which collected enough signatures to get the question on the ballot, said the measure might help financially fragile rural hospitals, create jobs as well as provide care for vulnerable people who have long gone without.

Mr. LePage as well as different opponents, including several Republicans within the state Legislature, said Medicaid expansion might burden the taxpayers as well as the state budget, as well as described the item as a form of welfare.

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Supporters of Medicaid expansion celebrated their victory on Tuesday in Portland, Maine.

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Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press

“The truth will be in which Medicaid expansion will just give able-bodied adults free health care,” Mr. LePage said in a recent radio address. “We don’t mind helping people get health care, nevertheless the item should not be free. ‘Free’ will be very expensive to somebody.”

The pro-expansion side may have benefited coming from energized public support for government health programs in a year when President Trump as well as Republicans in Congress tried repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act as well as cut spending on Medicaid, which covers one in 5 Americans. Senator Susan Collins of Maine, one of the few Republicans who firmly opposed the repeal efforts, has been an outspoken defender of Medicaid, although she did not take a position on the ballot question.

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