ADEA Washington Update

Medicaid Expansion May Happen Because of the Courts, Not Congress

(ACA, Medicaid Expansion, State Court) Permanent link   All Posts

HealthActivistsIn 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be determined by each state. Since then, several governors have fought against expansion in their states. Maine Gov. Paul LePage was one of several Republican governors who refused to accept the ACA’s federal funding to implement the expansion in the aftermath of the 2012 ruling. 

After several failed attempts by the Maine Legislature, Medicaid expansion advocates gathered signatures and put the issue on the 2017 ballot. Nearly 60% voted in support of the measure, making Maine the first state in the nation to approve Medicaid expansion through a ballot initiative. However, Gov. LePage refused to support the initiative. Last month, a Maine judge ordered Gov. LePage to follow through on expanding the Medicaid program with a Dec. 5 deadline for the state to make meaningful progress on setting up the health care expansion. In January, Gov. LePage will be replaced by incoming governor Janet Mills, a Democrat and former attorney general who has vowed to make implementing Medicaid expansion her top priority.  After the successful referendum in Maine, advocates in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah worked to get Medicaid expansion initiatives on their state’s ballots, and all three passed, leading many to believe that ballot initiatives and courts will expand Medicaid in hold out states. 

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