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Maine's New Governor Moves to Give Health Care to 70,000 People on Her First Day in Office
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=39316"><span class="small">Lindsay Gibbs, ThinkProgress</span></a>   
Sunday, 06 January 2019 09:34

Gibbs writes: "Maine approved Medicaid expansion by a ballot initiative more than a year ago, but former Governor Paul LePage had blocked it from taking effect."

Governor-elect Janet T. Mills enters the Augusta Civic Center Wednesday night before being sworn into her office. (photo: Troy R. Bennett/BDN)
Governor-elect Janet T. Mills enters the Augusta Civic Center Wednesday night before being sworn into her office. (photo: Troy R. Bennett/BDN)


Maine's New Governor Moves to Give Health Care to 70,000 People on Her First Day in Office

By Lindsay Gibbs, ThinkProgress

06 January 19


A year after Maine voters approved Medicaid expansion, Gov. Janet Mills has made it a reality.

aine approved Medicaid expansion by a ballot initiative more than a year ago, but former Governor Paul LePage had blocked it from taking effect.

Thankfully, Gov. Janet Mills (D-ME) knows how to keep a promise.

On Thursday, in her first executive order on her first day in office, Mills ordered Maine to move forward with Medicaid expansion, which is likely to provide health insurance for an additional 70,000 Maine residents.

As ThinkProgress’ Amanda Michelle Gomez previously explained, under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid eligibility was extended to nearly all low-income people making below 138 percent of the federal poverty line. However, a Supreme Court ruling in 2012 allowed states to opt out of expanding Medicaid under the ACA. Maine was one of 12 states run by Republican governors who decided to opt out.

Over the past few years, lawmakers in Maine fought tooth and nail to expand Medicaid, but LePage vetoed five different bills on the issue. So, in 2017, Medicaid expansion supporters attempted another route, and put Medicaid expansion up for a vote as a ballot measure.

Almost 60 percent of Maine voters endorsed the expansion, making the first time that a state had approved the ACA’s Medicaid expansion through a ballot initiative.

But LePage continued to slow-walk and block the measure at every turn, even using his final weeks in office to ignore a Maine Superior Court Justice’s ruling that LePage had to stop sabotaging Medicaid expansion.

“I will go to jail before I put the state in red ink,” LePage said last summer, emphasizing his desire to keep Maine’s budget in check. “And if the court tells me I have to do it, then we’re going to be going to jail.”

The Medicaid expansion will help Maine residents fight the opioid epidemic, which is particularly important considering that Maine was one of the states that saw an increase in overdose deaths between 2017 and 2018, according to Huffington Post.

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+17 # wilhelmscream 2019-01-06 10:17
@ last, I got insurance!
 
 
+18 # SusanT136 2019-01-06 10:23
“I will go to jail before I put the state in red ink,” LePage said last summer...The Medicaid expansion will help Maine residents fight the opioid epidemic...”

Talking about red ink is a fig leaf for an ideological position. Just as Republicans in Congress never mention deficit when they’re proposing military spending or tax cuts for the wealthy/corpora tions or massive subsidies for oil/gas companies, LePage is pretending budget is the reason for his objection. In truth he believes that people with an income below a certain point simply don’t deserve healthcare.

Is it still possible to penalize him for defying a judges order? It seems a very bad precedent for him to be able to do that with impunity, especially as an elected official who is supposed to represent the voters AND uphold the law.
 
 
+1 # elizabethblock 2019-01-07 18:36
Yup. Governments will always find, or manufacture, money for what they consider important, and in the United States that's usually wars and weapons, and/or subsidies for already rich corporations.