AUGUSTA – It was just a couple of months ago when voters approved several referendum questions.
Now, get ready for another round of citizen initiated questions to appear on your ballot.
They gathered more than 66,000 signatures. Now, even with the fate of the Affordable Care Act uncertain, “Mainers for Health Care,” want to let voters decide whether Medicaid coverage should be expanded in Maine.
“Our plan today is to deliver signatures to the secretary of state, because we are submitting these signatures. We’re going to take this to the ballot for 2017,” said Robyn Merrill, a member of the “Mainers for Health Care” coalition.
The issue, however, has been approved by the legislature over the past several years. And vetoed by Governor LePage each time.
“What we want to see happen here to have a safety net system that is helping our most vulnerable. And the governor is focused on that,” said Addrienne Bennett, the governor’s press secretary.
According to “Mainers for Health Care,” more than 70,000 working Mainers would fall under an expanded Medicaid umbrella.
And some law enforcement officers say they are seeing more addicts seeking help, but needing insurance.
“They want to save themselves and their lives. And they want to become useful and productive,” said Joel Merry, Sagadahoc County sheriff.
But the governor’s position remains the same, able-bodied…Mainers should provide for themselves.
Bennett said, “if we expanded medicaid today, we would be bankrupt as a state.:
According to the referendum wording, the federal government would provided the state $S500 million. And more than 3,000 new health-care jobs would be created.