BANGOR, Maine (WABI) Election day is Tuesday. Question 2 on the ballot is a citizen's initiative to expand MaineCare, also called medicaid, in the state.
32 states have already expanded their medicaid program.
The Maine Legislature has voted for expansion 5 times, but each time, it has been vetoed by Governor LePage.
Mark Brewer, Political Science Professor at UMaine says, "If Maine chooses to do this, it would make a significant number of Mainers who are not eligible for coverage under medicaid right now in the state of Maine, eligible."
70,000 low-income Mainers would become eligible, according to a study conducted by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Brewer says, "Most healthcare professionals think that this is a desirable outcome. They argue that it would improve the health of these particular individuals which would improve the health of the state overall."
Those opposed, including the Department of Health and Human Services, say there are options for the uninsured.
Stacey Geurin, a state representative for district 102 says, "There are plans available for people, and I think we have to preserve our resources for the truly needy."
Some argue the state already tried and failed in regards to Medicaid back in 2002.
Guerin says, "We tried it then and it didn't work. We ended up owing the hospitals $750 million. It was a terrible burden to the state to get them paid back."
But those in favor of expansion, including some in law enforcement, say this is a new model and it could help address the opioid crisis that's heavily impacted the state.
Noah Nesin, a local family doctor says, "We know that we only have the capacity to treat 1 in 4 to 1 in 8 people who have opioid use disorder in Maine right now. There are between 25 and 30 thousand people, so these resources are critical both for the people seeking care and for those of us who provide that care."
Those opposed say states like New Hampshire and Vermont, which have already expanded, still have some of the highest fatal overdose numbers in the country.
Those against expansion say it is too expensive, while those in favor say it will save the state money and increase jobs through expanded services.
For more information on Question 2 and other ballot initiatives visit: http://maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/upcoming/index.html