Speed Reads

2017 Elections

Maine voters approve ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion in groundbreaking referendum

On Tuesday, voters in Maine approved a first-of-its-kind referendum to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, going over the head of Gov. Paul LePage (R), who has vetoed five previous attempts to take the ObamaCare expansion. Assuming the state legislature doesn't step in, Maine will become the 32nd state to expand Medicaid. Supporters of the referendum outspent opponents, and organizers are already pushing similar referenda in some of the remaining 18 states, mostly under Republican control, that have declined the ObamaCare program, 90 percent of which is funded by the federal government.

In Maine, 80,000 more low-income adults will now qualify for Medicaid, adding to the more than 11 million people covered under the ObamaCare expansion program. "This is an exciting night in Maine, but also an exciting night for the country," said Mainers For Health Care spokesman David Farmer. "Voters have made it clear they want more health care, not less." Maine Republican Party chairwoman Demi Kouzounas said she was "disappointed" by the referendum's result, adding that the GOP will continue to oppose "more dependence on government."

Maine's two U.S. senators, Susan Collins (R) and Angus King (I), helped derail a GOP effort to dismantle ObamaCare over the summer, but President Trump is still working to take it apart through executive fiat.