Republican Lawmakers Question Wording of Medicaid Ballot Question

Aug 22, 2017

A group of Republican lawmakers, and former GOP party chairman Rick Bennett, are questioning the wording of the citizen initiated ballot question expanding Medicaid coverage.

The group says the proposed wording talks about Medicaid as health insurance instead of what they say it is — a welfare program. They want all references to insurance out of the ballot question. 

“The phrasing of the question needs to capture the scope of the bill and fully convey financial impact," said Rep. Heather Sirocki, of Scarborough, at an Augusta news conference. "I am concerned with the proposed phrasing.”

Supporters of the ballot question argue that Medicaid is the health insurance for the poor and that the group is trying to gain an advantage by changing the ballot question wording.

But Bennett says the wording of the question should be changed in “as concise as possible way, but a very clear way that follows Maine law and calls the question what it is, which is a question over the expansion of a welfare program, not the creation of insurance benefits.”

The Secretary of State is taking comments on ballot question phrasing until Sept. 1.

This story was originally published Aug. 22, 2017 at 3:39 p.m. ET.