AUGUSTA — Republicans who oppose a proposal to expand Medicaid under the federal health care say many Mainers have an alternative: Buying cheap private plans on the exchange with tax credits.

But critics say those making less than roughly $12,000 a year won’t receive help to pay for plans on the exchange. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, that would be about 24,000 people.

In a press conference Wednesday, House Republican Leader Ken Fredette said not expanding Medicaid could create an incentive for people to take a raise or work more hours so they can qualify for private plan subsidies.

Democratic Rep. Drew Gattine called that argument “insulting.” He said the subsidies aren’t a real solution for low income Mainers and would leave the poorest without care.

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