Public Comment Period Begins for Paperwork Restrictions to Medicaid Expansion
For Immediate Release — August 24, 2019
Sandpoint — Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare (“Department”) announced Friday the start of a 30-day public comment period on the most controversial restriction Idaho’s state legislature placed on voter-approved Medicaid Expansion. Idaho residents may now submit comments on the so-called “Work Requirement” restriction until September 22, 2019. Residents may send comments to the Department via email. They will also have a chance to comment publicly at two open hearings:
Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019; Lincoln Auditorium in the Idaho State Capitol Building, 700 W. Jefferson St., Boise @ 1:00–3:00pm (Mountain).
Friday, Sept. 6, 2019; East Conference Room in the Joe R. Williams Building, 700 W. State St., Boise @ 1:00pm-3:00pm (Mountain).
“This restriction to healthcare has nothing to do with whether Idahoans are working or not. It’s whether they fill out paperwork correctly. We’ve seen thousands of people in other states lose coverage because of this and Idaho is under the same threat,” said Luke Mayville, Co-Founder of Reclaim Idaho. “This reckless legislation will not only deny thousands of people healthcare they already qualify for, it will cost Idaho taxpayers millions of dollars to administer.”
Similar paperwork schemes have been tried in Kentucky, Arkansas and New Hampshire. A federal judge struck down the laws in all three states. In each case, the judge noted that government officials ignored overwhelming opposition to the restrictions.
“A lot of Idahoans think that sending in a comment won’t make a difference, but this is one of those cases where a federal judge has ruled just the opposite. Not only do public comments matter, the government, by law, is required to consider them,” said Rebecca Schroeder, Executive Director of Reclaim Idaho. “If the government ignores the voices of average Idahoans on this subject, they do so at their peril.”
In November 2018, Idaho voters approved a “clean” Medicaid Expansion program with no restrictions with 61-percent of the vote. The measure (Proposition 2) passed in 35 of Idaho’s 44 counties and 29 of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts. This is the second round of restrictions subject to public comment. Earlier this year, Idahoans weighed in on a restriction designed to steer people earning between 100–138-percent of the Federal Poverty Level onto costly private insurance even though they qualified for Medicaid Expansion. That restriction is currently under federal review.
Background: Reclaim Idaho is the nonpartisan, volunteer organization responsible for getting Medicaid Expansion on the November 2018 ballot. The measure passed with 61% of the statewide vote. In addition to providing healthcare access to tens of thousands of Idahoans, Medicaid Expansion is expected to bring back $400 million in federal funds to Idaho, shore up Idaho’s rural hospitals, and create thousands of jobs around the state.