In this May 2020 file photo, the State House is seen in Augusta. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

A Maine bill that would expand health care options for immigrants who are not U.S. citizens has passed a test in committee.

The proposal is designed to close coverage gaps in MaineCare and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, NBC affiliate WCSH reported. The Maine Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee voted on Wednesday to advance the proposal.

Democratic Rep. Margaret Craven, of Lewiston, said the bill would reinstate a program that began in the 1990s, but ended about 10 years ago. Craven said many immigrants don’t qualify for MaineCare or CHIP, even though they contribute tens of millions of dollars in taxes to the state. MaineCare is the state’s Medicaid program.

The bill states that it would provide coverage “for noncitizen residents of this state who are ineligible for coverage under the federal Medicaid program or Children’s Health Insurance Program due to their immigration status.” It still needs the approval of the full Legislature.