Barack Obama may not be running for anything these days, but his signature health care law was a big winner in Tuesday’s elections, as voters rebelled against Republican lawmakers who have blocked Obamacare's Medicaid expansion.
Democrats are hopeful their victories are a harbinger of further gains as they look to capitalize on the law's rising popularity in polls — and repeal legislation's deep unpopularity — with more ballot initiatives, legislative efforts and campaign messages.
In Maine, voters passed a ballot initiative that would expand Medicaid to an estimated 70,000 residents by a margin of 18 points, 59-to-41, doing an end run around Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican who has vetoed five bills to do so.
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LePage is already threatening to block the measure unless legislators can find a way to finance it without raising taxes, saying in a statement that "this fiscally irresponsible Medicaid expansion will be ruinous to Maine’s budget."