Hundreds rally for Medicaid expansion in Idaho

Posted at 1:56 PM, Feb 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-04 20:18:21-05

BOISE — About 300 demonstrators gathered on the Statehouse steps Monday, encouraging Idaho lawmakers to approve paying for voter-approved Medicaid expansion -- without adding work or other requirements.

With signs reading “Medicaid expansion is the Idaho way” and “#Fund Medicaid #No Red Tape,” the crowd shouted, “Do your job!” as a series of speakers brought together by an advocacy group called Reclaim Idaho noted 61 percent of voters passed Medicaid expansion in November.

The federal government would cover 90 percent of the estimated $400 million cost of Medicaid expansion, and Idaho lawmakers have to figure out how to pay the state’s share.

Some lawmakers have suggested adding work or requirements for recipients to be eligible.

The measure directs the state to expand Medicaid eligibility rules to include anyone earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level. That will provide access to preventative health care services for about 62,000 low-income Idaho residents.

“Idaho’s voters made it very clear they want Medicaid expansion in our state. Now it is time for our elected representatives to respect and enact the will of the people,” said Tracy Olson, Ada County Reclaim Idaho Co-Leader. “Medicaid expansion should be funded as the law was written, without restrictions to enrollment. Let the ‘Idaho way’ be one that is cost effective, evidence based and does not add wasteful bureaucracy.”

(Associated Press contributed to this story)