Thirty-three states now have adopted Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, according to data collected in June 2018, up from 23 in 2013. The latest number includes four new states added to the list in the last three years. And it includes Maine, which has accepted expansion legally, thanks to a citizens’ initiative approved by an 18-percentage point margin last November, but which has not yet implemented the expansion thanks to the LePage administration, which is resisting for what it says are budgetary reasons.

Inspired by the success of the citizens’ initiative effort in Maine, supporters of expansion in Utah and Idaho are planning their own initiatives.

All of which makes one skeptical of claims about unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, and about its supposed failures. It’s estimated that the Medicaid expansion portion of Obamacare now is providing health insurance to over 12 million low-income Americans who would not otherwise have been eligible. These are not the signs of a failing program. Expansion in Maine would increase eligibility for Medicaid by an estimated 70,000 or more persons.

A recent Suffolk University poll indicated that health care was the number-one issue of concern for Maine voters this year. The elections in November, both for governor and for legislative seats, could well determine whether Maine effectively addresses those concerns through implementation of Medicaid expansion, or turns its back on the health care needs of thousands of its citizens.

Tom Eichler, Wiscasset