For far too long, Maine left billions of federal dollars on the table, while the governors of thirty-one other states (including seventeen Republicans and now-Vice President Mike Pence) have taken advantage of this opportunity. The evidence is overwhelming: the states that took advantage of the expansion have seen lower healthcare costs, healthier citizens, more stable hospital systems, and stronger economic growth:
- Medicaid expansion will put Maine hospitals on more stable financial footing. This is particularly important in the rural parts of our state, where many hospitals struggle with the high number of patients without insurance, and are increasingly in danger of closure or consolidation.
- Medicaid expansion will create jobs and strengthen the Maine economy. The nearly $500 million a year in Federal dollars flowing into the state would create about six thousand new jobs — not to mention the economic benefits of a healthier, more secure workforce.
- Medicaid expansion will save lives. Approximately 70,000 Maine people will gain access to health insurance, and in turn be able to access regular doctor’s visits, vaccinations, and other forms of preventative care. In particular, increased access to addiction treatment and counseling are critical as we confront the opioid epidemic across our state.
That’s why I was so thrilled that Maine voters passed Question 2 by a margin of nearly two to one.
Sadly, Governor LePage is already looking for ways to overrule the people of Maine, arguing that they voted ‘wrong.’ Even more blatantly, Republican candidate Mary Mayhew said that she didn’t believe that the state should expand Medicaid “all because you put a couple sentences on the ballot.”
This is a familiar tactic; as Attorney General, the very first battle I fought with Governor LePage was his attempt to kick thousands of low-income children off Medicaid. As Attorney General, I’m fully committed to ensuring Medicaid expansion is implemented now, in accordance with the will of the people. As Governor, I’ll continue to do everything in my power to ensure every Mainer has access to high-quality and affordable healthcare.