Good news in Maine

The Maine Medicaid Expansion will be moving forward. Here is the relevant part of the court order:

IV. Conclusion
The Court Orders the Commissioner to submit a state plan amendment to the United
States Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
ensuring MaineCare eligibility for people under 65 years of age who qualify for medical
assistance pursuant to 42 United States Code, Section 1396a(a)(10)(A)(i)(VIII) by June 11, 2018.

A State Plan Amendment is the most straightforward way for a state to expand Medicaid. It tells HHS/CMS that a state is modifying the standard Medicaid provisions that the state accepts and it will want the appropriate matching money. There will be some lag between an SPA and the first enrollment but people should be getting on Expanded Medicaid sometime this year.

Good job Maine!

24 replies
  1. 1
    rikyrah says:

    Bravo to the citizens of Maine 👏👏
    Getting it on the ballot
    Voting for it
    And now, the court enforcing the wishes of the voters 😄

  2. 2
    cmorenc says:

    Hopefully, the voters of Maine are now ready to turn the LePage on more than just Medicaid expansion.

  3. 3
    dr. bloor says:

    @cmorenc: Hopefully the voters of Maine get their shit together next election cycle and run *one* viable candidate against said LePage.

  4. 4
    Yarrow says:

    Yay! That’s great news! Hope MomSense comments on it.

  5. 5
    Yutsano says:

    @rikyrah: We got Maine. We got Virginia. Looking at you North Carolina!

  6. 6
    Barbara says:

    33 states (34 if you count DC) means that 2/3 of states have approved Medicaid expansion. For those who care, the non-expansion states outside of the Deep South are South Dakota (even North Dakota recognized a no-brainer when it saw one), Idaho, Utah, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Florida and Texas together probably have an expansion eligible population that is more than the expansion eligible population of all of the rest of the non-expansion states combined.

    Good job citizens living in Maine!

  7. 7

    @Barbara: All R majority states, coincidence? I think not.

  8. 8
    sdhays says:

    This means that Medicaid Expansion will, at least initially, be a lot more generous and efficient than LePage could have made it if he had spent his time coming up with a wasteful Arkansas-like plan with work requirements and privatization and such rather than trying to stonewall it all the way, right?

  9. 9
    MomSense says:

    This has been such a fucking slog. Fingers crossed we will finally get health care to people who need it.

  10. 10
    Raoul says:

    These voter-forced expansions are interesting.
    Of course, the GOP hasn’t given up on full sabotage. There are rumblings that the Senate could make one last stab at ACA this summer. It appears that Maine’s swingy and far too credulous senator is a ‘no’, but Andy Slavitt is publicly worrying about Lisa Murkowski. Not sure how much of that is just to get a pile-on to her so she won’t cave.
    We’ve made it 500 days with ACA still the law. Next year’s premium increases are looking rough, can we effectively blame that (and accurately!) on the frunking GOP. We have to!

  11. 11
    Yutsano says:


    It appears that Maine’s swingy and far too credulous senator is a ‘no’, but Andy Slavitt is publicly worrying about Lisa Murkowski.

    Then it’s dead and Yertle knows it. Until Grandpa Walnuts either gives up the mortal coil or resigns, Yertle only has 50 votes. He won’t get 51 from the Democrats so he has to have his entire caucus. So it’s moot.

  12. 12

    @sdhays: The referendum was for a State Plan Amendment expansion so the waiver route was never considered as the Maine political establishment had tried to go that route several times and got vetoed each time.

  13. 13
    MomSense says:


    Next year’s premium increases are looking rough, can we effectively blame that (and accurately!) on the frunking GOP. We have to!

    And that is the challenge with all of these issues. One of the most disgusting, cynical parts of our Medicaid ordeal in Maine was that we already had expanded Medicaid many years before the ACA. It was part of Dirigo Health which was an attempt to expand coverage. LePage and the Republicans cut Medicaid and blamed it on ObamaCare. Then those of us trying to help people get coverage had to try and explain a complicated issue and counter the established narrative that was already fixed in people’s minds.

    Republicans have the media to help them with their message and we really don’t have anything comparable. The reason Medicaid expansion worked is because there were so many of us involved in a process that required one on one contact like signing a petition. It’s a lot of work. This is why we have to crush the midterms and then I really do believe we have to turn our ire on the media.

  14. 14
    Mary G says:

    So encouraging so see that the national consensus is slowly moving toward some form of health insurance for all.

  15. 15
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Raoul: A ‘Suicide’ Mission: White House and GOP Leadership Fear New Obamacare Repeal Push
    I can’t believe they would be so stupid,’ one Democrat said. ‘That said, they often surprise me with how stupid they are.’

    polls show over and over again that health care is an important issue that favors Dems. If the Rs decide to gin it up as an issue, I don’t think it will go well for them.

  16. 16
    sdhays says:

    @David Anderson: I see. So illegal obstruction was literally his only move. Checkmate by the voters.

  17. 17
    Yutsano says:

    @MomSense: To be fair, that was Raoul not me. :) But yeah LePage is a disgusting individual and a shanda of a governor.

  18. 18
    🌷 Martin says:

    Related, and ‘duh’.

    A new study explores a surprising psychological motivation that might be underpinning this opposition to welfare, at least among white people: racial resentment.

    Here’s how it works, according to a paper published in the journal Social Forces: When whites feel their status in the racial hierarchy is threatened, they become more resentful of minorities. That, in turn, translates to a greater opposition toward welfare, because some people think welfare disproportionately benefits minorities. This dynamic, the authors find, might be why opposition to welfare programs increased after 2008—when the economy was in tatters and the nation had elected a black president.

  19. 19
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Imagine being so coldblooded that you need to be forced by a Court to do the right thing for your citizens. Maine residents need to vote better.

  20. 20
    Another Scott says:

    @🌷 Martin: Yup.

    Feelings of fairness/unfairness are primal. It’s hard to think of a better button for a demagogue to push – that’s why it’s pushed so often in US politics.

    I’m not sure how we fight against trumped up (heh) unfairness when it’s so difficult to make progress against genuine unfairness in our systems… But we have to keep fighting.


  21. 21
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Mr. Marshall has his ruling.

  22. 22
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @🌷 Martin: not at all surprising. People have been studying relative deprivation at least since Ted Gurr.

  23. 23
    WaterGirl says:

    @MomSense: so happy for you and all of Maine! It should t have to be this hard, but you prevailed!

  24. 24
    Skepticat says:

    Just returned to Maine (where it’s considerably chillier than it was in the Bahamas, though that might be a good thing), and the extremely conservative friend with whom I had lunch mentioned that LeRage’s approach is refusing to implement the order because there isn’t enough money to fund it. Maybe I can tolerate the heat down south … except I certainly have to stay until June 12 to vote for ranked-choice voting

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