Ron Beitelspacher of Grangeville (left) talks with (L-R) Luke Mayville and Garrett Strizich last Wednesday, Dec. 20, during their Grangeville stop for Medicaid for Idaho.
As of Wednesday, December 27, 2017
GRANGEVILLE “I think we have a good start here,” said Luke Mayville.
Mayville, along with friend Garrett Strizich, was in town Dec. 20 to gather support for Medicaid for Idaho. The two founded the group to help bridge the Medicaid gap and are seeking 56,000 signatures on a petition in the state of Idaho.
“That’s 6 percent of the registered voters in the state, which would allow us to place Medicaid expansion on the November 2018 ballot,” Mayville explained. “Our legislators have refused to address expansion for the past four years, so it’s time to put it out to the people to vote on.”
Mayville became especially interested in local and state needs when he and Strizich formed a committee to help pass a school levy in Sandpoint in March of this year.
“Most people in Sandpoint thought the levy vote would fail, because the previous levy had failed by a margin of two to one,” he explained. “But we were able to recruit about 60 volunteers to go door-to-door, and knock on about 3,000 doors in a single weekend. Voter turnout was much higher than usual, and the levy passed by a margin of two to one.”
Mayville said his family grew up poor, moving from place to place, while his single mother worked as a waitress to provide for him and his brother. When he was 7, they inherited some property in Sandpoint and moved there.
“I understand the working poor,” he said.
Mayville said there are about 78,000 uninsured people in the state of Idaho who fall into the Medicaid gap.
“I saw with the Affordable Health Care Act in 2010 how my mother was able to be insured following a cancer diagnosis,” he said. “She was able to keep her house because of that.”
Mayville explained having health insurance is tied up with economic security and he has seen that firsthand.
“I believe the fiscally responsible thing to do is to expand Medicaid,” he said.
Mayville said he knows Medicaid is not perfect, but, “Isn’t it better than the alternative, when that alternative is nothing?”
Idaho is among 19 states that have not expanded Medicaid. This proposal would expand Medicaid to Idahoans who earn less than $16,000 a year if they are single and $22,000 a year for a family of two. It is 90 percent funded by the federal government and will ensure that federal tax dollars currently sent out of state will remain in Idaho to help other Idahoans.
Those who wish to help locally or who want to sign a petition are asked to contact one of the following: Ron Beitelspacher, 208-983-2535, firstname.lastname@example.org; Joe Cladouhos, 208-507-0239, email@example.com; or Mary Ann High, 208-451-6027, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Log onto https://medicaidforidaho.org/join-our-campaign/ or Medicaid for Idaho on Facebook for details.