Maine Governor Paul LePage recently threatened his own secretary of state, demanding that a ballot initiative for Medicaid expansion refer to the program as "welfare" to deter people from voting for it.
Well, LePage will not get his wish. The exact wording of the ballot initiative has been released and the word "welfare" is not included.
It now reads: "Do you want Maine to expand Medicaid to provide healthcare coverage for qualified adults under age 65 with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level, which in 2017 means $16,643 for a single person and $22,412 for a family of two?"
I don't expect human hot-air balloon Paul LePage will actually follow through on his threat sue the secretary of state's office over this wording. Even if he does, I can't see how he could make a case of it. The wording of the initiative is literally what the program entails.
I do expect we'll see this rhetorical battle play out in other states in the near future once the reality that Obamacare is here to stay sets in. Without a reasonable expectation (or even an unreasonable one) that Medicaid will be cut in the near future, there's no reason for state lawmakers to deny Medicaid expansion to their constituents.