Maine Question 2, Medicaid Expansion Initiative (2017)
Maine voters will be asked this November to decide whether the state should expand its Medicaid program (MaineCare) under the federal Affordable Care Act. This is important to United Way of Greater Portland because ensuring people have the opportunity to live as healthy a life as possible is central to United Way of Greater Portland’s mission and community focus. When people have access to medical care, they are more likely to succeed in school and work, and live longer, healthier lives. As such, United Way of Greater Portland supports the statewide referendum to expand MaineCare.
Currently many people who are uninsured lack coverage because they do not fall into an eligible coverage category under Medicaid, and still cannot afford to purchase health insurance through the exchange. In fact, eighty percent of Medicaid-qualifying adults live in low-income working families or are employed. Of those adults who are not working and on Medicaid, 71% are not working due to medical illness or disability; retirement; or are acting as caretakers. With Medicaid expansion, more than 70,000 Maine people who do not currently have medical insurance will obtain coverage. This will translate directly into better health and medical outcomes for these individuals and our community.
This coverage will also help improve hospital finances across the state and benefit our state’s economy. The federal government will cover 90 percent of the cost of expansion, Maine will see an infusion of nearly $500 million a year into its economy, and an estimated 6,000 jobs will be created as a result. While the state government will eventually have to pay 10 percent of the cost, this would amount to roughly a 5 percent increase in state Medicaid spending and would account for less than 2 percent of the overall state budget.
Voting “yes” on Question 2 will have a positive impact on the long-term health of our communities and help ensure community thrives.