Five times since the Affordable Care Act was passed and signed into federal law, the Maine State Legislature passed and sent to Governor Paul LePage bills to expand MaineCare to more people in Maine. Five times, LePage vetoed it.
Let that sink in.
Maine’s Republican governor, who only got there with a mere plurality of votes (his first term, he got less than %40 of the vote hardly a resounding mandate from the people), has defied the will of the people as expressed through their elected representatives. This lead directly to the Citizen’s Initiative that became Question Two on last November’s ballot to force the issue directly from the citizens of Maine, a referendum that LePage cannot veto, to expand MaineCare to cover approximately 70,000 more people. Most of the money required to pay for this is provided by the Federal government through moneys already budgeted and allocated, all Maine has to do is say “yes”. And Maine has the money available for the downpayment before the federal funds kick in this year, and the ability to easily budget it in each of the coming years. The Referendum passed 59-41. It passed with not merely a simple majority, but an almost supermajority. More people voted for this than for LePage in either of his campaigns for Governor.
The referendum set a deadline for April for the LePage administration to submit a plan to the Federal government on how it plans to implement the expansion, with the expansion itself to be implemented by July 2. By law.
So what happened? The LePage administration ignored it. Let that sink in.
Various groups have since sued the LePage administration to force him/it to follow the law. The Maine State Attorney General, Janet Mills, refused to defend the LePage administration in this, so LePage hired outside council. The Court rendered its verdict on June 4: The LePage administration must follow the law as written and submit a plan, deadline June 11. With the implementation date on July 2. What happened next? On June 7, the LePage administration through the Department Of Health And Human Services filed an appeal.
This is just the most recent and most inhumane way that LePage is destroying democracy in this state. By acting contrary to what the people have repeatedly said they wanted, including by a direct ballot question. Then ignoring the result.
And all of the Republican candidates for Governor have pledged to follow LePage’s lead.