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  • Maine's Obamacare Vote Revives Medicaid Expansion Debate in Some States Governing by Mattie Quinn — Last month's election has re-energized Obamacare advocates. Meanwhile in Maine, the matter is being complicated by Gov. Paul LePage, who has vowed not to implement an expansion until lawmakers can show how they'll fund it. Prior to last month’s elections, no polling had been done on Maine’s first-of-its-kind ballot initiative to expand Medicaid. Considering how controversial the health-care debate in Congress has been all year and the fact that the state elected a Republican governor, health policy experts were expecting a nailbiter. But to their pleasant surprise, the vote was quickly called in their favor. Sixty percent of Maine voters chose to expand Medicaid, which is one of the key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare. That means more low-income people in Maine should soon be eligible for Medicaid, the government-run health insurance program. (The governor, however, has vowed to implement it only under certain conditions.) The victory in Maine has re-energized Obamacare advocates hoping to replicate that success in other states.

  • North Carolina Seeks to Widen Medicaid Network by Paying Docs' Debt Modern Healthcare by Virgil Dickson — North Carolina wants to entice more providers to treat its Medicaid population by paying off their debts. The state is also looking at imposing premiums and work requirements on Medicaid enrollees. North Carolina officials want to increase access by expanding the Medicaid provider workforce in underserved areas. They hope to recruit more doctors through a loan repayment and incentive program that would be funded by up to $45 million from the federal government over five years. State officials especially hope the repayment program will attract general surgeons, OB-GYNS, psychiatrists, psychologists, and midlevel behavioral health providers.

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