In a sign of the GOP’s weakening knee-jerk opposition to Obamacare, Maine Governor Paul LePage may be the latest Republican who agrees to cooperate with health reform to extend coverage to 55,000 of his state’s uninsured residents. On Monday, LePage signaled for the first time he may expand Medicaid under the health care law.
According to the Portland Press Herald:
LePage signaled Monday that he’s open to participating in the federal health care law’s Medicaid expansion program, but will seek the “best deal for Mainers.” [...] Adrienne Bennett, LePage’s spokeswoman, said Monday that the administration will initiate discussions with the federal government over a Medicaid expansion. She said the governor will seek assurances that Maine is “getting a return on investment.”
Remember, LePage is the same vocal Obamacare critic who blasted the health law just a few months ago, saying, “Maine will not be complicit in the degradation of our nation’s premier health care system.” And the governor has historically favored contracting, not expanding, Maine’s Medicaid program. Thousands of Maine residents already lost their health coverage earlier this month because LePage dropped nearly 15,000 low-income residents from the Medicaid rolls — and he would have kicked more than twice that number off of the program if the Obama Administration hadn’t stopped him.
If LePage agrees to extend Medicaid coverage, he would join a surprising coalition of GOP governors in states like Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada.