Letter to the Editor

Fund Medicaid Expansion

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Dear Editor,

Idahoans did the right thing in the 2018 election. They voted by an overwhelming majority to expand Medicaid.

This year, Governor Brad Little (R) proposed a budget that expands Medicaid at no additional cost to the State of Idaho. As many as 91,000 Idahoans may be eligible. Overwhelmingly, these are people who have been unable to afford medical insurance. Some people who have received subsidies to purchase coverage will also be able to upgrade to Medicaid. They will save thousands in deductibles and co-pays. No one will lose coverage.

The Governor’s Budget has identified $19,903,300 in savings to the state General Fund stemming directly from Medicaid Expansion.

Unfortunately, the Idaho Legislature voted last session to undermine Medicaid by imposing crippling “requirements,” such as work reporting. They are intended to exclude people from medical care. And they are more costly than a simple, “Clean” expansion. Even the Trump Administration agrees that a clean expansion is the most economical choice.

Medicaid Expansion is a “win” for our state in many ways. It will create thousands of new jobs—estimates say 5,600—and produce $20,000,000 in new revenue over ten years. Many with chronic conditions will now be able to work. Others will get the help they need to end a cycle of incarceration.

The voters did the right thing. Now the Idaho Legislature needs to do the same by funding a clean Medicaid Expansion.

Frank Monasterio