AUGUSTA – A bill that will provide Maine taxpayer funds to cover abortion services and mandate all private insurers also cover abortion was moved forward in a vote of the Maine Legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee that broke along party lines on Tuesday.
The bill, L.D. 820 is sponsored by Rep. Joyce “Jay” McCreight (D – Harpswell), whose legislative profile says she is a “long time advocate for children.” Democrats on the committee supported the bill, with Republican members of the committee opposing it.
The bill appears to try to frame a lack of taxpayer funded abortions in Maine as a discrimination issue, saying it is trying to ‘prevent discrimination in public and private insurance.’
But while the title of the bill suggests that the purpose is to provide women who are covered under Medicaid the same access to abortion as those with private insurance, the bill itself adds the language requiring all insurance carriers selling plans in Maine to cover abortions in order to say that taxpayers must pay for the abortions of women without insurance.
Because the Mills administration is rapidly expanding Medicaid with an aggressive enrollment program, it is expected that as many as 70,000 more Mainers will be enrolled in Maine’s Medicaid program over the coming twelve to eighteen months. McCreight’s bill would make all recipients of Medicaid, both previously enrolled, and the new expansion population, eligible for abortion services at taxpayer expense.
The federal government, under the Hyde Amendment, will not provide funding for abortion, so state taxpayers alone would be on the hook to pay for the cost of abortions for Medicaid recipients.
L.D. 820 has about 80 cosponsors in addition to Rep. McCreight as the primary sponsor. All sponsors are Democrats or “Independents.”
The Legislature would need to initially appropriate almost $1.4 million to pay for abortions if the bill is approved.
Sponsor: Rep. Joyce “Jay” McCreight
Cosponsors Representative Kent ACKLEY of Monmouth Representative Christopher BABBIDGE of Kennebunk Representative Shawn BABINE of Scarborough Representative Donna BAILEY of Saco Representative Pinny BEEBE-CENTER of Rockland Senator Shenna BELLOWS of Kennebec Representative Seth BERRY of Bowdoinham Representative Lydia BLUME of York Senator Catherine BREEN of Cumberland Representative Michael BRENNAN of Portland Representative Heidi BROOKS of Lewiston Representative Christopher CAIAZZO of Scarborough Representative Barbara CARDONE of Bangor Representative Anne CARNEY of Cape Elizabeth Senator Everett CARSON of Cumberland Senator Justin CHENETTE of York Senator Benjamin CHIPMAN of Cumberland Representative Kristen CLOUTIER of Lewiston Representative Benjamin COLLINGS of Portland Representative Janice COOPER of Yarmouth Representative Scott CUDDY of Winterport Representative Matthea DAUGHTRY of Brunswick Representative Diane DENK of Kennebunk Representative Dale DENNO of Cumberland Senator Susan DESCHAMBAULT of York Senator James DILL of Penobscot Representative Janice DODGE of Belfast Representative Donna DOORE of Augusta Representative Victoria DOUDERA of Camden Representative Michelle DUNPHY of Old Town Representative Jeffrey EVANGELOS of Friendship Representative Ryan FECTEAU of Biddeford Representative Victoria FOLEY of Biddeford Representative Drew GATTINE of Westbrook Speaker Sara GIDEON of Freeport Representative Lori GRAMLICH of Old Orchard Beach Senator Geoffrey GRATWICK of Penobscot Representative Thom HARNETT of Gardiner Representative Allison HEPLER of Woolwich Representative Daniel HOBBS of Wells Representative Brian HUBBELL of Bar Harbor Representative Patricia HYMANSON of York Representative Erik JORGENSEN of Portland Representative Victoria KORNFIELD of Bangor Representative H. LANDRY of Farmington Senator Nathan LIBBY of Androscoggin Senator Louis LUCHINI of Hancock Representative Colleen MADIGAN of Waterville Representative Anne-Marie MASTRACCIO of Sanford Representative Ann MATLACK of St. George Representative David McCREA of Fort Fairfield Representative Genevieve McDONALD of Stonington Representative Andrew McLEAN of Gorham Representative Gina MELARAGNO of Auburn Representative Michele MEYER of Eliot Senator Rebecca MILLETT of Cumberland Senator David MIRAMANT of Knox Representative Matthew MOONEN of Portland Representative Margaret O’NEIL of Saco Representative Sarah PEBWORTH of Blue Hill Representative Ann PEOPLES of Westbrook Representative Anne PERRY of Calais Representative Teresa PIERCE of Falmouth Representative Lois RECKITT of South Portland Representative Tiffany ROBERTS-LOVELL of South Berwick Representative Deane RYKERSON of Kittery Senator Heather SANBORN, H. of Cumberland Senator Linda SANBORN, L. of Cumberland Representative John SCHNECK of Bangor Representative Braden SHARPE of Durham Representative Michael SYLVESTER of Portland Representative Rachel TALBOT ROSS of Portland Representative Denise TEPLER of Topsham Representative Maureen TERRY of Gorham Representative Ryan TIPPING of Orono Representative Ralph TUCKER of Brunswick Senator Eloise VITELLI of Sagadahoc Representative Charlotte WARREN of Hallowell Representative Stanley ZEIGLER of Montville