Medicaid expansion advances in Legislature

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

Slowly but surely, Medicaid expansion is making its way through the Idaho Legislature.

Funding for the expansion, which was mandated by voters through a ballot initiative with more than 60-percent support, was approved by the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. A collaborative committee of Idaho House and Senate members that makes financial decisions for the state budget, JFAC voted unanimously Wednesday to fund Medicaid expansion through the Millennium fund.

“I am ecstatic to see that the members of the committee are respecting the will of the people,” said Rep. Sally Toone, a Medicaid expansion supporter. “This vote sends a clear message to all the legislators. We have found a funding mechanism and are ready to implement Medicaid Expansion. Idahoans need access to quality health care. There is no time for any more nonsense.”

Lawmakers and activists alike called for Medicaid expansion to clear the Legislature unimpeded and without any additional requirements tacked on. But conservative legislators ideologically opposed to the expansion of the federal program made the case in recent weeks for blocking the initiative legislatively. Last week, two bills designed to halt Medicaid expansion failed to advance out of committee, with the House Health and Welfare Committee voting 7-5 against them.

The Idaho Statesman reports that the first attempt to curb Medicaid expansion was a complete repeal of the law. The second repealed Medicaid expansion years down the road if it didn’t produce predicted local and state savings. 

Republican Reps. Julianne Young and John Green led the charge to freeze Medicaid expansion progress in committee. They argued that voters weren’t fully informed of the expansion and its implications when they approved the ballot measure. Committee members largely rejected the argument by killing the Medicaid expansion repeal bills in committee. 

While we have you ...

... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.

You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.

Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal

You may also like...

Close [x]

Want to support independent local journalism?

The Sandpoint Reader is our town's local, independent weekly newspaper. "Independent" means that the Reader is locally owned, in a partnership between Publisher Ben Olson and Keokee Co. Publishing, the media company owned by Chris Bessler that also publishes Sandpoint Magazine and Sandpoint Online. Sandpoint Reader LLC is a completely independent business unit; no big newspaper group or corporate conglomerate or billionaire owner dictates our editorial policy. And we want the news, opinion and lifestyle stories we report to be freely available to all interested readers - so unlike many other newspapers and media websites, we have NO PAYWALL on our website. The Reader relies wholly on the support of our valued advertisers, as well as readers who voluntarily contribute. Want to ensure that local, independent journalism survives in our town? You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.