Reclaim Idaho completes summer tour of the state

By Reader Staff

Reclaim Idaho has completed its summer tour of Idaho in a green-clad mobile home after dozens of stops in Idaho cities and small towns.

The group, co-founded by Sandpoint native and Columbia University professor Luke Mayville, claims it is closer to achieving its goal to expand Medicaid in Idaho and get people out of the Medicaid Gap.

“Thousands of fellow Idaho citizens can’t afford health care,” Mayville said. “Our legislators have the power to fix this problem while saving state and local dollars. That’s why we traveled the state in our 1977 camper transformed into a Medicaid Mobile — all the way from Bonners Ferry in the far north to Driggs in the southeast — to talk about the importance of preserving and expanding the Medicaid program in Idaho.”

The Medicaid Gap refers to a current statistic of 78,000 Idahoans, most of whom belong to working families, that have been denied access to affordable healthcare.

“Initially, my wife, Emily Strizich, was concerned with what kind of reception we’d get driving through Idaho, stopping in various cities and community events,” said Garrett Strizich, co-founder of Reclaim Idaho. “Emily is an occupational therapist and on the front lines of health care in Idaho. She is very concerned about healthcare in our state, so she accompanied Luke and me on the tour. She realized very quickly — well, all of us did — that most Idahoans agree on this point: We have a health crisis, and we need solutions.”

The tour heard many stories like that of B.J. Cooper, who is 37 and works 50-60 hours per week with an injured back. Even when he broke his ankle, he didn’t seek medical attention because he has no health insurance or access to affordable care.

Reclaim Idaho is a grassroots campaign designed to elect Idaho candidates who believe in strengthening public schools, extending health care to working families and protecting public lands.

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