Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is reemphasizing his vow to veto any expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare, accusing fellow Republican lawmakers in the state legislature of playing politics with a drug abuse crisis to push for expansion.
LePage’s vow comes as two Republican state senators are pushing for a Medicaid expansion bill, citing the state’s problem with abuse of prescription painkillers and heroin, an issue that has been growing nationwide.
The senators say expanding Medicaid would help more people get substance abuse treatment.
But the governor is rejecting that argument.
“Unfortunately, there are some politicians using a real addiction pandemic to push welfare expansion to score political points in an upcoming election year,” LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett told the Lewiston Sun Journal. “The governor doesn’t play that game.”
While the governor is resisting efforts in Maine, there are signs of life for Medicaid expansion in other states. Thirty states have so far expanded the program.
In South Dakota, Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard is exploring a deal where the federal government would pick up more of the cost of Native American healthcare to free up money for the state to expand Medicaid.
Alabama’s Republican governor has also expressed openness to exansion, and Louisiana is moving ahead after the election of Democrat John Bel Edwards last month.