'Ugly' Session Adds Momentum to Group Behind ID Medicaid Expansion
Friday, May 10, 2019
BOISE, Idaho – Attempts to curtail voter initiatives in the Idaho Legislature this year are invigorating the group behind Medicaid expansion.
Reclaim Idaho's massive mobilization to expand the federal health program garnered 61% approval in November, but lawmakers ended up watering down the ballot initiative by passing work requirements, potentially leaving thousands without coverage.
They also passed a bill making it much harder to put initiatives on the ballot. Rebecca Schroeder, executive director of Reclaim Idaho, calls it an "ugly" session.
"What was kind of a silver lining of this session is that as we fought those battles to protect Medicaid, and as we stood up and fought for our rights to organize initiatives, our supporters grew by almost five-fold, which was just incredible," says Schroeder.
Schroeder says Reclaim Idaho delivered nearly 12,000 signatures to Gov. Brad Little, urging him to veto the initiative bill, which ultimately worked.
Backers of the bill said the tougher requirements were needed to make sure rural areas wanted these initiatives.
In support of Medicaid work requirements, Little says they will encourage self-sufficiency. This measure still needs federal government approval to be implemented.
Reclaim Idaho plans to field candidates from both parties to challenge Republicans who supported the initiative bill and Medicaid work requirements. To ramp up for next year's election, the group is holding a series of summer town halls across the state on these topics.
Schroeder says they're calling it the "accountability campaign."
"In each one of these areas that we organize one of these town halls, we intend to mobilize huge teams of canvassers to get out into the communities and ensure that this isn't going away," says Schroeder. “I understand that one of the biggest risks that we run is letting all that energy fizzle away."
Schroeder notes that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say they saw unprecedented public input this legislative session. She adds that her group is considering introducing a 2020 ballot initiative at the end of the summer, but keeping the details under wraps until then.
get more stories like this via email
In her 2022 State of the State address, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul set new goals for electrifying the school bus fleets in the state. Clean-energy …
Finding and affording child care is no cakewalk for Oregon families right now. A new report details the pressures and some potential policy fixes…
Acknowledging the pandemic's toll on Kentucky students, teachers and families, Gov. Andy Beshear announced last night a state budget which would make …
Health and Wellness
This month, Minnesota has raised state reimbursement rates for dentists who accept patients enrolled in the state's Medicaid program. Groups working …
Mobile carriers are starting to decommission their 3G cellular networks this year, some as soon as next month. Pennsylvania officials are reminding …
Health and Wellness
A new report suggests discrimination in medical settings affects the quality of care for many Ohioans. In a survey of more than 800 people, …
One hundred years ago today, the Izaak Walton League of America was founded in Chicago, with a mission of local stewardship of wild places, citizen …
An alliance of environmental groups and lawmakers has released an ambitious, wide-ranging set of goals for the 2022 Arizona Legislature. The …