On February 21, Maine’s Secretary of State certifiedMainers for Health Care‘s ballot initiative with 66,434 valid signatures, well over the minimum of 61,123 valid signatures required for a successful citizens’ ballot initiative. This effort,a partnership of Mainers throughout the State, has exceeded the minimum threshold of signatures gathered, so the question is now qualifiedto go before the Maine Legislature, which can choose to pass it into law without any amendments or alterations. If the Legislature does not pass veto-proof legislation, the question of expanding Medicaid will come to the people on the November 2017 ballot.
What’s at Stake?
An estimated 70,000 Mainers who currently can’t affordhealth insurance coverage would qualify for coverage. The Legislature has passed several bills with bipartisan support to accept federal funds to expand health coverage in recent years, but those bills have been repeatedly vetoed by Governor LePage.
Maine People Have Spoken Loud and Clear
Maine people have spoken loud and clear—they want a chance to vote on this critical issue. People’s lives are on the line due to a lack of affordable health care and they need relief now. Expanding access to health coverage through Medicaid is still the best and most affordableoption we have to cover more Maine people.
Expanding Medicaid is also one of the best opportunities we have to improve Maine’s economy. Expanding access to health coverage through Medicaid will:
bring over $500 Million in new federal funds each year to ourstate;
create at least 3000 good paying jobs throughout the state, including rural Maine where jobs are desperately needed;
improve the health of Maine’s workforce; and
help to prevent family illness or health problems from turning into bankruptcy, loss of a home, and destitution.