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Maine House approves Medicaid expansion, but without votes to override a LePage veto

AUGUSTA (WGME) -- At the State House, the Maine House of Representatives, on Tuesday, held its initial vote on a measure to expand Medicaid in Maine to roughly 70,000 low income Mainers for the next three years. The federal government would pay 100-percent of the cost under the Affordable Care Act.

The bill passed by a 97 to 49 vote, but not before lawmakers debated the controversial measure at length. Republican Representative Bernard Ayotte, from Caswell, argued "What about the 3,100 people, the elderly and handicapped, that right now we cannot afford to cover? They, as we speak, are still waiting."

Democratic Representative Jane Pringle, of Windham, says "The amazing thing that so many of you don't want to believe is that when we create a system that provides equal access to care for everyone, it lowers the cost for everyone." The House vote fell short of the two-thirds support it would need to override an expected veto by republican Governor Paul LePage.