By: Emma Donnelly, Contributor
This November, Maine has four statewide initiatives. Question 2 is a Medicaid expansion initiative. A “yes” vote supports this initiative to require the state to provide Medicaid through MaineCare for persons under the age of 65 and with incomes equal to or below 138 percent of the federal poverty line (less than $16,643 a year for a single person and $22,412 for a family of two). A “no” vote opposes this initiative.
If this ballot passes, an estimated 70,000 more Mainers will have access to health insurance and 6,000 more jobs will be created—along with additional funding for hospitals. This would be made possible because Maine will be able to accept $500 million that Governor Paul LePage has been blocking from the federal government. The Governor and a minority of lawmakers have blocked this common sense solution, costing the state an estimated $1.2 billion.
The cost of healthcare, especially prescription drugs, is taking a heavy toll on our families and neighbors. This initiative is especially crucial for people seeking healthcare for substance abuse disorder recovery or for other mental health recovery. The opioid epidemic in our state is an issue all political parties are focused on, and this initiative will allow for more people to enter recovery without causing a major financial burden.
Make a plan to vote on November 7, 2017. Find out your polling location by searching your address on Google, or request an absentee ballot to vote early if you cannot make it to the polls by visiting http://voteearly.me. The state of Maine even has in person voter registration the day of the election, and if you live on campus at the University of Southern Maine, you can use your school address to register. Whether you support this initiative or not, it is important to participate in your democracy whenever an election is happening.