Question 2, on Medicaid expansion, at first glance seems like a great deal. We get money from the federal government to expand coverage up to 138 percent of the poverty level for able-bodied childless adults at 90 percent reimbursement. The devil is in the details though.
Most of this newly eligible group are currently able to purchase health insurance through the Affordable Care Act exchanges for a trivial monthly sum with a relatively small deductible. Shifting this population into Medicaid will add an enormous burden to Maine taxpayers with very little discernible benefit.
The last time we tried this, in 2002, Maine’s uninsured rate saw no measurable decline. In fact, the share of Mainers using private insurance dipped from 70 percent to 61 percent, while the percent of Mainers enrolled in Medicaid ticked up significantly from 14 percent to 25 percent.
Question 2 is a bad deal for Mainers.