Posted: April 30, 2014 | Senator Jackson

Maine is only state in New England to deny expansion offer


AUGUSTA–Governor LePage took another opportunity to deny lifesaving health care to 70,000 Mainers including 3,000 veterans by vetoing a measure that would have accepted the federal government’s offer to expand the state’s health insurance program, MaineCare.


Last month, New Hampshire became the 27th state, including the District of Columbia, to accept expansion. Maine is now the only state in New England that has not accepted healthcare expansion.


“I just can’t wrap my head around lawmakers who have been given government-sponsored healthcare paid for by their constituents and then turning around and denying healthcare to those very same constituents,” said Senator Troy Jackson of Allagash, the sponsor of the measure. “It’s shameful that the governor continues to play games with people’s lives.”


According to an evaluation by Harvard and the City University of New York, Maine could save around 157 lives per year by accepting federal funds.


With 179 vetoes, Governor LePage has exceeded the number of vetoes by any other Governor, including the previous record holder, one-term Governor Jim Longley who issued 118 vetoes.


The Senate will take up the veto of LD 1640, “An Act to Enhance the Stability and Predictability of Health Care Costs for Returning Veterans and Others by Addressing the Issues Associated with Hospital Charity Care and Bad Debt, when the Legislature reconvenes on May 1. Two-thirds, or 24 votes, is needed to override the veto.