GRANGEVILLE – Although Idaho’s Proposition 2, Medicaid expansion, passed in November 2018 with more than a 60 percent approval, the fight is not yet over.
Just ask Reclaim Idaho Executive Director Rebecca Schroeder of Coeur d’Alene.
“We have fought for funding and we’re a little more optimistic on that part right now, as it passed the JFAC and the full Senate floor, 31-3, but there’s more,” she told a group of about 15 people in Grangeville, Thursday, March 14. The stop is part of Reclaim Idaho’s Town Hall meetings across the state.
Schroeder, who is a Kooskia native, explained the legislature is currently discussing a type of “sunset clause.”
“They want to ensure that, at such a time the government funding would change from the current 90/10 formula, there would be nothing else required of the state for funding,” she said, in addition to a 2023 review and certain work requirements.
She explained it’s already been proven the more than 13,000 Idahoans eligible for the Medicaid expansion, who fall in the gap of not being able to be covered by any health insurance, are already working.
“And nothing shows that removal from health care is an incentive to continue to work – people are working for health care,” she said.
The restrictions would add another layer of bureaucracy, creating the need for government monitoring.
“This is the opposite of what we want – we want a good, clean expansion that has proved workable in other states,” Schroeder said.
“We want to know what is the problem that they [legislators] are going against what more than 60 percent of voters want?” she questioned.
One man at the event asked what the reasoning is behind this school of thought.
“I think it just comes down to punitive measures driven by ideology of certain people,” she sighed. “And that is, that some people are worthy of healthcare and others are not.”
There is that mentality in some cases, she went on, that legislators “are saving voters from their own stupidity as they don’t know what they voted for,” she added.
Schroeder spoke briefly about the expansion being cost-effective for the entire economy.
“If we can just agree that preventative medical care is cheaper than emergency room care, we’re part way there,” she said.
She added rural hospitals especially are in danger of closing without this important piece of funding through the Medicaid expansion.
“And the agenda to close and consolidate rural hospitals is out there,” said meeting attendee, Rick Weholt.
Schroeder asked the group to employ their writing, typing and speaking skills and contact their legislators across the state to tell them they do not want to see a sunset clause and severe restrictions on the expansion.
“Let’s make sure we don’t fail Reclaim Idaho,” attendee, Shelley Dumas, said to the group.
For details, www.reclaimidaho.org.