Judge orders Maine to implement voter-approved Medicaid expansion

Judge orders Maine to implement voter-approved Medicaid expansion
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A Maine court has ordered the state to move ahead with Medicaid expansion, which was approved by voters last year but blocked by Republican Gov. Paul LePage

Michaela Murphy, a Maine Superior Court justice, ruled Monday afternoon that the state must submit a plan to the federal government by June 11 detailing how it plans to expand Medicaid. 

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Maine voters approved expansion in November through a citizen-led ballot measure, but LePage has fought back at every turn.

He said he wouldn't implement expansion unless state legislators found a way to pay for it without raising taxes. But expansion supporters argued the governor's estimate was too high. 

His administration missed the April 3 deadline to send a plan to the federal government, prompting lawsuits from the Maine Equal Justice Partners and Consumers for Affordable Health Care.

Maine became the first state to expand Medicaid through a voter referendum. 

Medicaid expansion would make eligible an additional 70,000 Maine residents with incomes between 101 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty level.