Maine voters will make a very important decision about Medicaid expansion Nov. 7.

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap is required by law to present the ballot question “concisely and intelligibly” and has posted a version on the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions website, with a 5 p.m. Sept. 1 deadline for public comment.

Medicaid is not health insurance. It’s a program that was intended for children, pregnant women, parents of dependent children, the elderly and those with disabilities – the truly needy. The issue before us is about changing the purpose and funding of Medicaid.

The proposed language does not explain that we are expanding the original purpose of Medicaid, does not convey a concept of cost and does not describe the new intended beneficiary: an able-bodied adult without dependents. I believe everyone supports access to affordable health care, but the real debate and question is how do we do that. The ballot language must frame this question clearly.

I have proposed the following alternative language for the question: “An Act to Expand Medicaid Coverage for Able Bodied Adults Without Dependents: Do you want to pay for the expansion of Medicaid for able-bodied adults without dependents and under the age of 65 with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level?”

Regardless of how you feel about the subject, voters deserve a question that makes it readily apparent for what you are voting. Please join me and urge the secretary to revise the proposed wording that provides clear disclosure of the issue.

You can email your comments to: [email protected]; please state “public comment” and the name of the ballot question in the subject line. Or you can mail comments to the Secretary of State, Attn: Public Comment, 148 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0148.

Hubert Padgett

Newcastle