According to the Lewiston Sun Journal, unenrolled gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler of Cape Elizabeth has said he would have signed into law a controversial expansion of Maine’s medical welfare program, known as Medicaid or MaineCare, had he been in office.
“If Eliot Cutler were governor today, the state’s Medicaid system would cover 70,000 more people,” wrote reporter Scott Thistle in an article posted Sunday.
The matter of whether to expand the welfare program, as Maine previously (and ineffectively) did in 2003, has become the focus of much legislative debate as a result of certain provisions within the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
The Department of Health and Human Services has estimated that – if Medicaid is expanded as Cutler wishes – the state’s MaineCare costs would reach $150 annually by 2020.
As Joel Allumbaugh, health care policy analyst for MPHC, has written, “If all states were to expand Medicaid coverage to include those declared potentially eligible under Obamacare, one-in-four Americans will be on Medicaid within 10 years — at a combined cost of $831 billion in state and federal spending by 2021.”
Cutler’s recently announced position puts him on the side of opponent U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, who endorsed welfare expansion earlier this year.