A group that hopes to expand Medicaid in Maine turned in more than 67,000 signatures to the secretary of state Wednesday in hopes of getting a question on the November ballot.

Mainers for Health Care wants to ask voters to require the state to accept federal funds to expand MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program. Similar bills have passed in the Legislature in recent years, but Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed them.

LePage’s newest proposed budget would tighten eligibility requirements further, reducing the number of people who get health insurance through the program.

The Maine Republican Party issued a statement Wednesday saying that the ballot question may well be “a moot point and waste of state resources” because of anticipated federal changes to the Affordable Care Act, under which state Medicaid programs can be expanded.

“We are likely witnessing the introduction of a referendum that would have no effect other than misguided demands that Maine taxpayers would be saddled with, and potentially, even more welfare costs,” said Nina McLaughlin, the Republican Party’s communications direction, in a news release.

Democratic House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, released a statement saying the ballot measure would boost the state’s economy and help more people get access to health care.

“Too many Mainers are struggling to pay their doctor’s bills or not going to a doctor at all because it’s too expensive,” she said in the statement. “(The ballot measure) would make available over $500 million in new funds to the state annually that will go towards quality health care.”

After a State House news conference, volunteers delivered boxes of signatures to the state. For the proposal to appear on the ballot, at least 61,123 valid signatures must be confirmed.

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