A bill to accept federal funding to expand health care coverage through Medicaid has been placed on the State House Calendar for today according to a press release issued by Mike Tipping for Mainers for Health Care.
Referred to as a citizen initiative, it has the more than 66,000 required signatures to be placed on the November 2017 ballot. The signatures were found to be valid by Maine’s Secretary of State last month.
The state legislature will now have an opportunity to pass the legislation (LD 1039). If it doesn’t, it will go to a public vote in November.
“No one should be blocked from accessing affordable health insurance, especially when so many need care or medicine,” said Robyn Merrill, Executive Director of Maine Equal Justice Partners. “Legislators can and should pass this bill now. Expanding access to Medicaid is a common sense move that will improve health, create over 3,000 good paying jobs through the State and help preserve Maine’s community hospitals and health centers that so many of us depend on.”
Federal funds have been earmarked for Maine to provide health insurance to 70,000 Mainers by expanding Medicaid coverage and the Maine Legislature passed expansion bills five times, but all were eventually vetoed by Governor Paul LePage. LePage has called it an “expansion of welfare.” If indeed the citizen initiative does go on the November ballot and wins, LePage will not have the power to veto it. By refusing to accept these federal dollars, Maine has lost out on over $1 billion since the launch of the Affordable Care Act.”
The evidence from the 32 states including the District of Columbia who have expanded their Medicaid premiums is overwhelmingly positive. These states cite significant benefits including the huge influx of federal funds, decreases in uninsured rates, significant new job creation and improved access to Medicaid care including drug treatment and mental health services.
For more background information on this subject herein, please visit post dated February 21, 2017.
For more information on this, please contact Robyn Merrill at: firstname.lastname@example.org.