LePage versus 66.44% and 62.86%

Here are the votes on Medicaid expansion in Maine so far:

  • House: 66.44% voted yes (97-49)
  • Senate: 62.85% voted yes (22-13)
Gov. LePage

Gov. LePage

As this infographic shows, votes in favor of expansion were bipartisan, while opposing votes all came from Republicans.

However, these very strong bipartisan majorities are not sufficient to overcome a LePage veto.

Unless some votes change, legislators who didn’t vote decide to support the bill, or particular legislators decide to sit out the veto override vote, Medicaid expansion will be decided at the ballot box.

Maine citizens support Medicaid expansion at least as much as the Maine Legislature. Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean pro-expansion candidates will win elections.

But the issue will not go away, not when so many jobs are at stake, hospitals (particularly those in rural areas) face increasing financial strains, and citizens suffer and unnecessarily die.

The economic impacts of not expanding are rather remarkable. Not only would Maine be giving up more money than it receives from the federal government in highway funds, but, as this chart shows, jobs would be lost in every county.

And there will be many painful personal stories to tell about the impact of this decision and there’s no doubt that candidates and constituents will tell them.

So even if two-thirds in both the Maine House and Senate are unable to overturn a LePage veto, Medicaid expansion is not done as an issue. If anything, it raises the stakes of the campaign for Maine’s governor.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.