Voters in Maine approved a referendum Tuesday to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act to 80,000 low-income Americans, approving the measure by a nearly 20-point margin.
On Wednesday, Republican Governor Paul LePage declared that his administration will not expand Medicaid until the state finds a way to pay for it.
The state’s legislature has repeatedly tried to expand Medicaid, but LePage issued five different vetoes blocking the legislation.
“Credit agencies are predicting that this fiscally irresponsible Medicaid expansion will be ruinous to Maine’s budget,” LePage said in a statement.
“Therefore, my administration will not implement Medicaid expansion until it has been fully funded by the Legislature at the levels [the Department of Health and Human Services] has calculated, and I will not support increasing taxes on Maine families, raiding the rainy day fund or reducing services to our elderly or disabled.”
Medicaid currently covers 268,000 people in Maine, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Approximately 80,000 Mainers fall into a coverage gap between Medicaid and the ACA.
Maine’s non-partisan Office of Fiscal and Program Review calculated that the state will need to spend nearly $55 million more per year to expand Medicaid, but will draw an additional $525 million from the federal government.