What's up in Maine? Lots of stuff.
Maine voted in 2017, by referendum, to become the first in the state in the nation to expand Medicaid by popular vote. The Governor has responded that he will not implement the expansion unless the Legislature finds the money, without increasing taxes. The Governor has also said that he will not support the Legislature using rainy day funds the State has set aside. Since the expansion would cost millions ($50 million has been suggested), this seems to be a roadblock to an expansion in the immediate future. Governor LePage has vetoed prior attempts by the Legislature to expand Medicaid. Estimates suggest that the Medicaid expansion would add about 70,000 to the system in Maine and bring in $500 million in federal funds.
Another way Maine has recently gained national attention is through the formation of a task force to look at state-wide single-payer system. In the last session, the Maine Legislature created the “Health Care Coverage Task Force” a group of leaders, including lawmakers, hospitals, the insurance industry, and small and large employers, to look at what single-payer system would look like if implemented in Maine. Jill Packard, HAM’s Executive Director, attended the first meeting of the task force.
See the establishment of the task force here: