Health care advocates from across Maine will gather in the welcome center at the State House on Wednesday to announce the collection of more than 66,000 signatures to place a referendum on the ballot to expand Medicaid coverage in Maine.
The petition delivery will pave the way for a public vote on accepting federal funding to expand Medicaid coverage for tens of thousands of Mainers who make too little to afford health insurance, according to a news release from the Maine Peoples Alliance. Similar bills have been passed by bipartisan majorities in the legislature multiple times in recent years, but have been vetoed by the governor, the alliance said.
After the rally in the Hall of Flags, members of Mainers for Health Care, the coalition backing the referendum, will take boxes of petitions to the Cross Office Building and deliver them to the offices of the Secretary of State.
In addition to covering more than 70,000 working Mainers, expanding health coverage through Medicaid will also bring $500 million in federal funds to the state and is projected to create more than 3,000 new health care jobs, predominately in rural areas, the alliance said. According to law enforcement and drug treatment experts, its also a vital step in addressing Maine’s opioid addiction epidemic.
Where: Maine State House Welcome Center, Augusta
When: noon, Wednesday, January 25
Rev. Dr. Marvin Ellison, retired professor of Christian ethics
Sheriff Joel Merry, Sagadahoc County
Dr. Jane Pringle, MD, Windham