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Maine House fails to override LePage veto of Medicaid expansion

Maine House fails to override LePage veto of Medicaid expansion
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Lawmakers in Maine's state House failed to override the governor's veto of a bill that would fund the first year of Medicaid expansion.

The lawmakers voted 85-58 to uphold Republican Gov. Paul LePage's veto of the $60 million bill, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass the bill.

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That $60 million — which was slated to come from budget surplus revenue and the state's tobacco settlement fund — would have been matched by $500 million in federal funds to expand Medicaid to more low-income adults in the state. 

LePage, and conservative Republicans who voted against the override, said the expansion should have a long-term funding plan, not a one-time funding source.

Maine voters approved Medicaid expansion at the ballot box last year, but LePage has blocked its implementation. 

His administration has asked the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to delay the expansion until the state legislature passes a bill funding its share of the costs. 

LePage, who has vetoed Medicaid expansion six times during his tenure as governor, is also being sued over his failure to implement the expansion. 

LePage has said he would support a higher tax on hospitals to fund the expansion. 

LePage's term ends in January and the next governor could have to address Medicaid expansion depending on court rulings.