AUGUSTA (AP) — Maine’s Democrat-controlled Legislature is poised to vote on a Republican-backed measure to expand Medicaid under the federal health care law.

Initial votes on the measure are expected in the Senate as early as Tuesday.

Under the bill crafted by Assistant Republican Leader Roger Katz and Sen. Tom Saviello, Maine would also implement managed care in the Medicaid program.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage and many GOP lawmakers are fiercely opposing the bill because they say it will be too costly. But Democrats say not accepting the federal funds for the expansion will hurt Mainers and the economy.

This is the third time lawmakers will vote on a proposal to expand Medicaid to roughly 70,000 Maine residents. LePage vetoed two previous bills and lawmakers failed to get enough support to override.

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