Idaho Freedom Foundation Files Suit to Block Medicaid Expansion 

- There was a massive, statewide effort to put Medicaid expansion on the November ballot. -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • There was a massive, statewide effort to put Medicaid expansion on the November ballot.
On Nov. 6, more than 60 percent of Idaho voters cast their ballots to expand Medicaid in the Gem State, but on Nov. 21, the Idaho Freedom Foundation filed a lawsuit against the State of Idaho to block the implementation of the program, describing Medicaid expansion as “unconstitutional.” In the legal complaint, IFF wrote that Proposition 2 will give the Department of Health and Welfare unconstitutional power by “delegating [it] authority to take ‘all actions necessary’” to expand Medicaid. 

For years, advocates pressed the Idaho Legislature to expand Medicaid on its own (it declined), but in 2018, they resolved to put the question of growing the program to voters, undertaking a statewide effort to gather enough signatures to put it on the ballot. On July 6, scores of volunteers delivered more than 70,000 signatures to the Idaho Statehouse, and on July 17, Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney confirmed that the signatures met the threshold for putting Medicaid expansion on the ballot.

Expanding Medicaid would provide health insurance to Idahoans who cannot afford it through Idaho's Affordable Care Act exchange, and who also do not currently qualify for Medicaid. In its lawsuit, IFF claims that the program's expansion would violate the Idaho Constitution.

IFF President Wayne Hoffman has long criticized Medicaid expansion; in a September 2018 statement on the IFF website, he wrote that should Proposition 2 pass, it "would authorize the state health and welfare department to take resources from other programs."

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