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Idaho Supreme Court Upholds Medicaid Expansion

Idaho Public Television

The Idaho Supreme Court issued a ruling late Tuesday that upholds the constitutionality of the state’s Medicaid expansion initiative approved by voters in November.

The court issued its ruling just a week after hearing arguments in a challenge brought by an attorney for the Idaho Freedom Foundation.

Attorney Bryan Smith argued the state, by accepting Medicaid expansion, would be subject to federal rules not explicitly approved by the legislature. And he says if the feds decided to, say, change the funding ratio to put more of the burden on the state to pay, Idaho could do little about it, at least in short order.

Proposition 2 was approved by 61% of voters. It calls for the state to contract with the feds to fund health insurance for people whose incomes are 133% or less of the federal poverty level. That would make affordable coverage available to tens of thousands of Idahoans who can’t get it now. The feds would pay 90% of the premiums, the state would pay the rest.

Emily Strizich, co-founder of the group Reclaim Idaho, which led the petition drive to have the initiative placed on the ballot, praised the ruling. “Now that the sideshow is over, we can get back to fulfilling the will of the people of Idaho,” she said.


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