LePage Loses Battle To Call Medicaid Expansion ‘Welfare’ On November Ballot

**OTK**In this Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011 photo, Gov. Paul LePage reacts during a news conference at the State House in Augusta, Maine..  (AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach)
ASSOCIATED PRESS

A campaign by Maine’s firebrand Gov. Paul LePage (R) to make sure Medicaid is labeled “welfare” in a ballot initiative this November to expand it to tens of thousands low-income residents has come to a screeching halt, with Secretary of State Matt Dunlap (D) unveiling a much more neutral wording.

When Mainers go to the polls this fall, they will see the following question:

“Do you want Maine to expand Medicaid to provide healthcare coverage for qualified adults under age 65 with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level, which in 2017 means $16,643 for a single person and $22,412 for a family of two?”

David Farmer, the communications director of Mainers for Health Care, which is campaigning in favor of the Medicaid expansion, told TPM he was satisfied with the word choice.

“We believe that Sec. Dunlap has done a good job crafting a fair and accurate question that meets the requirements in Maine law,” he said.

LePage, who has vetoed five bills from the Maine legislature that would have expanded Medicaid under Obamacare, told several conservative talk radio shows that he will sue the Secretary of State if Medicaid expansion is not called either “welfare” or an “entitlement” on the ballot.

Governor LePage’s office did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment about whether he will follow through on this threat.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alice Ollstein is a reporter at Talking Points Memo, covering national politics. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been reporting in DC ever since, covering the Supreme Court, Congress and national elections for TV, radio, print, and online outlets. Her work has aired on Free Speech Radio News, All Things Considered, Channel News Asia, and Telesur, and her writing has been published by The Atlantic, La Opinión, and The Hill Rag. She was elected in 2016 as an at-large board member of the DC Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Alice grew up in Santa Monica, California and began working for local newspapers in her early teens.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK