Health care advocates delivered more than 67,000 signatures to the Secretary of State today to place a referendum on the ballot to expand Medicaid coverage in Maine. The petitions pave the way for a public vote on accepting federal funding to cover tens of thousands of Mainers who currently can’t afford health insurance, but have been denied coverage through Medicaid according to a press release issued today by Mike Tipping, of Maine Peoples Alliance.
Similar bills have been passed by bi-partisan majorities in the legislature multiple times in recent years, but have been repeatedly vetoed by Governor Paul LePage. In addition to covering more than 70,000 working Mainers, expanding health coverage through Medicaid will also bring $500 M in federal funds to the state and is projected to create more than 3,000 new health care jobs, predominately in rural areas. According to law enforcement and drug enforcement experts, it’s also a vital step in addressing Maine’s opiod addiction epidemic.
The signatures were gathered through a grass-roots effort involving hundreds of volunteers from every corner of Maine. The petitions will now be evaluated by the Office of Maine’s Secretary of State. If more than 61,123 are found to be valid, the initiative will appear as a question on this November’s General Election ballot.