Voters in Maine approved a referendum Tuesday to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act to 70,000 low-income Americans.
The state’s legislature repeatedly tried to expand Medicaid, but Republican Gov. Paul LePage issued five different vetoes blocking the legislation.
Maine now becomes the 32nd state and first by referendum to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.
Medicaid currently covers 268,000 people in Maine, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Approximately 70,000 Mainers fell into a coverage gap between Medicaid and the ACA before tonight’s Medicaid expansion vote.
Democrat Ralph Northam won the election to replace McAuliffe Tuesday. If Democrats take control of the House of Delegates, the governor could expand the program with the support of the legislature in Virginia as well. The state senate elections aren’t until 2019, but the path to victory for Democrats in that chamber is considered much easier, as Republicans have just a two-seat majority there.
About 400,000 people would receive access to health insurance if Virginia expanded Medicaid.