Petition Seeks to Put Medicaid Expansion on Idaho Ballot

Feb 5, 2018

The group Medicaid for Idaho is leading the signature campaign for an initiative to expand Medicaid.
Credit Reclaim Idaho

A plan is underway in Idaho to increase the number of people with healthcare by passing two waivers in the legislature to modify requirements under the Affordable Care Act and Medicare. But there is also a push to get lawmakers in the state to expand Medicaid.

Low income people in Idaho face a real struggle.

For a family of four, there is no health coverage assistance if they make between $5200 and $24,000 per year. That’s because they make too much to qualify for Medicaid, and too little to receive subsidies under Obamacare.

Now there is a grass roots campaign to get a measure on the November ballot that would cover all those in the so called “Medicaid Gap”.

Reclaim Idaho campaign spokesman Luke Mayville says many of people in that gap are working, even full time.

“They were on Medicaid when they were destitute and without a job. But then the moment they get a job, they lose their healthcare. And it’s not as if because they then got healthcare because they got a job. Because the reality of the Idaho economy is that so many of the available jobs are low wage jobs without health insurance,” says Mayville.

Mayville says Idaho should take advantage of the Federal Government’s plan to pay for the majority of the cost of expansion.

“Idaho will experience a windfall of federal dollars, covering 90% of the expenses of a program that will cover nearly 80,000 people. It’s potentially about $500 million a year,” says Mayville.

Mayville says a governor’s commission report estimated Medicaid expansion would bring in about $40 million in new tax revenue because it’s expected to create 14,000 new jobs in the healthcare sector.

The petition to put the Medicaid expansion on the ballot needs 56,000 signatures by May 1 to put it on the November ballot.