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With little fanfare, Obamacare just had its best week in months.
On Tuesday, Maine voted overwhelmingly to participate in the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. If enacted (and there are still some questions about that), this will expand Obamacare to cover about 70,000 low-income Maine residents.
Then on Thursday, the federal government released data showing that Obamacare sign-ups are off to a strong start, with more people signing up each day than in the previous years.
President Trump had previously declared the Affordable Care Act dead. His administration has cut off funding for advertising and enacted policies that will hurt Obamacare. But even in spite of that, states are voting to expand the ACA — and Americans are signing up for it in droves.
The ballot initiative in Maine wasn’t a squeaker. The state voted to expand Medicaid with 58 percent voting in favor and 41 percent voting against. This has inspired activists in other states to pursue ballot initiatives for 2018. Utah and Idaho both have efforts that will begin gathering signatures in the coming week.
And it’s possible that Virginia may also have a Medicaid expansion in sight. While we’re still waiting to see who controls the legislature (a few races may head to recounts), it’s possible the state could see a Medicaid expansion effort as well.
As Medicaid expands in additional states, Obamacare gets bigger. Its footprint in the American health insurance system becomes more significant and more entrenched.