Maine Governor says voters wrong to approve Medicaid expansion, hesitant to implement measure

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Maine Gov. Paul LePage

PORTLAND, Maine  — Maine’s governor says residents of his state made an expensive mistake when they voted to expand access to Medicaid, and he is hesitant to implement it at all.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed five different attempts by the state Legislature to expand the program. But Maine voters decided the issue at the polls Tuesday, approving a Medicaid expansion under former President Barack Obama’s signature health law.

LePage said on Wednesday that a previous Medicaid expansion in the state created yawning hospital debts and failed to reduce emergency room use. He says he won’t implement the new expansion until it’s fully funded by the state Legislature.

Tuesday’s vote was the first time since the law took effect that the question of expansion had been put in front of U.S. voters.