Commentary

More encouraging electoral news: Maine votes overwhelmingly to expand Medicaid

In case you missed it, yet another important piece of good news from last night’s elections came from the state of Maine.

This is from an article in this morning’s New York Times:

“Voters in Maine decided on Tuesday to expand access to Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, making the state the first in the nation to settle the issue by referendum.

Maine is one of 19 states whose Republican governors or legislatures have refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. Other holdouts like Utah and Idaho are closely watching the initiative, as newly formed committees in both those states are working to get a Medicaid expansion question on next year’s ballot. The outcome may offer clues about the salience of the issue in next year’s midterm congressional elections.”

Would that there was a way to place such a referendum on the North Carolina ballot as there can be little doubt as to how it would turn out. Even a slanted poll from the right-wing Civitas Institute recently reported that North Carolinians are evenly divided on the much more progressive solution of Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” proposal. The much more modest idea of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act — an act Republican leaders in North Carolina have refused to take for several years now — would provide insurance coverage to hundreds of thousands of people and save thousands of lives per year. Sadly, there is little indication at this point of any real inclination on the part of Republicans to act. One wonders if this will still be the case as we draw closer to the 2018 elections.

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