Maine Voters Chose Medicaid Expansion. Why Is Their Governor Resisting?

Even on frigid, wintry nights, Wall delivers newspapers, earning $150 a week when her kids are asleep.

“I go out about 2 in the morning. And it usually takes me four to five hours,” she said. “I try really hard not to fall, but I have had a few accidents. One of them was on black ice last winter.”

At one point, Wall thought she might have broken a rib. But she stayed away from the emergency room for fear of a costly medical bill.

At least 70,000 low-income Maine residents like Donna Wall should gain Medicaid health insurance because of the ballot measure that passed last fall. Advocates collected signatures to put the question to voters, and, in November, Maine became the first state to get approval at the ballot box to expand Medicaid, passing with 59 percent approval.

But even though voters here in Maine decided to expand Medicaid, the law’s fate is unclear. Republican Gov. Paul LePage has said that opening up the program to more poor adults threatens the state’s financial stability and that lawmakers shouldn’t raise taxes to pay for it.


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