Flood Them With Pink Slips
The Maine legislative session went late into the night last week as House members failed to reach consensus on funding their ballot-approved Medicaid expansion. Maine consumers passed a ballot question in 2017 demanding the state close the coverage gap for thousands of Mainers in need of health care access. The legislature adjourned with many vital issues unresolved, including providing funding for administrative capacity to support Medicaid enrollment in July.
In the background, Governor LePage continues to obstruct and undermine the Medicaid expansion that Maine voters approved at the ballot. The state has yet to file the state plan amendment needed to implement a change in Medicaid policy, and the governor supported Minority House leader Rep. Ken Fredette’s (R-Newport) efforts to rally House member opposition to what citizens have demanded of their state government.
For advocates working on the state level, the work continues. As part of a larger strategy to hold the legislature and governor accountable and to continue to amplify the voices of consumers, the Mainers for Health Care coalition and its partners are using a variety of activities and tactics to ensure success. Most notably, encouraging consumers to call their legislators and send a clear message of support for Medicaid. Simply put: get it done or get a new job. Kathy Kilrain Del Rio from Maine Equal Justice Partners (MEJP) commented that is was a “sea of pink” as legislators walked the floor late into the night. Pinks slips came rolling through the doors with messages from consumers demanding that they do their job and support Medicaid access for Mainers.