MAINE BECOMES FIRST STATE TO EXPAND MEDICAID BY BALLOT INITIATIVE

Less than two months after Republicans' latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act imploded, a purple state just made a decidedly blue-state move to essentially expand Obamacare. On Tuesday, Maine became the first state to expand Medicaid with a ballot initiative. And it passed overwhelmingly: Maine voters agreed to grant health care to an estimated 70,000 low-income residents by a nearly 20-percentage-point margin by the time the measure was called by election watchers. In other words, a sizable number of voters in Maine just voted to do the exact opposite of what the state's Republican governor and Republicans in Washington have been trying to do. Maine Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bipartisan legislative deal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act at least five times. What happened in Maine could provide momentum for progressives to get voters in other states to expand Medicaid, such as Alaska and Idaho, where groups have already started similar Medicaid expansion ballot initiatives next year.