Several Democratic members of the State Legislature have introduced a proposal that would extend Medicaid benefits to individuals who are in the country illegally.
LD 199 – “An Act to Improve the Health of Maine Residents by Removing Exclusions to the MaineCare Program” – is backed by House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portland) and several other Democratic lawmakers.
If passed, the bill would expand Medicaid, known in Maine as MaineCare, to include asylum seekers, refugees, and illegal aliens.
“[T]he State shall appropriate funds in the state budget to provide state funded medical assistance through the MaineCare program for noncitizen individuals who reside in the State and are ineligible for coverage due to federal restrictions relating to immigration status in the federal Medicaid program,” the bill states.
Medicaid is a federal program that is administered by the states, and it’s aim is to help low-income people with medical expenses.
It’s unclear what the fiscal impact of the bill would be as there is no accurate measure of how many illegal aliens are currently living in Maine.
The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates as many as 22.1 million non-citizens are currently living in the U.S.
California expanded its Medicaid program — Medi-Cal — last year to include illegal aliens over the age of 50, a rule change that affected 286,000 people living in California. New York made a similar policy change for non-citizens over the age of 65.
In 2021, Maine became one of several states that provide comprehensive state-funded health care coverage to income-eligible children regardless of immigration status.
But LD 199 would make Maine the first state to offer Medicaid benefits to all adult residents who are in the country illegally.