Maine Gov. Paul LePage Promises To Block Medicaid Expansion That Residents Voted For Overwhelmingly

Republican Gov. Paul LePage of Maine promised to block Medicaid expansion in the state even though 59 percent of Maine residents voted for the expansion.

LePage, who has vetoed Medicaid expansion in the state five times, said he would block the expansion until the program “has been fully funded by the Legislature at the levels DHHS has calculated.”

The Medicaid expansion is nearly funded completely by the federal government under Obamacare. States only have to pay 10 percent of the necessary funding by 2020.

In a press release, LePage failed to mention that fact and falsely claimed that the Medicaid expansion would “give ‘free’ health care to working-age, able-bodied adults, most of whom do not have dependents.”

In reality, working poor Americans also pay taxes so Medicaid is not “free” to those people.

LePage also cited the opinions of unidentified credit agencies over voters’ will:

Credit agencies are predicting that this fiscally irresponsible Medicaid expansion will be ruinous to Maine’s budget. Therefore, my administration will not implement Medicaid expansion until it has been fully funded by the Legislature at the levels DHHS has calculated, and I will not support increasing taxes on Maine families, raiding the rainy day fund or reducing services to our elderly or disabled.

Mainers for Health Care, which ran the campaign to expand Medicaid, told Talking Points Memo that LePage could not defy voters with his rules:

Under the state constitution, 45 days after the legislature reconvenes, Medicaid expansion will become the law of the state. According to the statute, the Department of Health and Human Services has 90 days after that to submit an implementation plan to the federal government, and the implementation itself will take place in mid-August of 2018.

(Sources: Press Herald, Maine.gov, Talking Points Memo)

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