Possible Legal Challenge to Idaho's Medicaid Expansion

Nov 15, 2018

Idaho’s Medicaid expansion, just approved at the polls, may soon face a legal challenge.

Idaho voters supported Proposition 2 at the polls; 60% voted yes. The measure directs state lawmakers to approve expansion of the Medicaid program in the Gem State.

A group that was opposed to that expansion says it may mount a legal challenge.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation’s Fred Birnbaum says the wording of the initiative is problematic. It says if Congress makes any changes to the statutes that govern Medicaid eligibility, the change would automatically affect Idaho as well.

“By delegating this authority to define who’s eligible to the federal government, the legal question is does that violate Idaho’s constitution?” said Birnbaum.

He says the law also improperly delegates authority to one state agency.

“The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare shall submit any necessary plan amendments. And then Health and Welfare is authorized to take all actions necessary. So basically we view this potentially as an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority of the state legislature to an executive branch, because it says is required and authorized,” said Birnbaum.

He says his organization is deciding whether to mount a legal challenge to Prop 2. He expects a decision on that may come within a week.

Idaho Freedom Foundation's Fred Birnbaum.
Credit Idaho Freedom Foundation