Dear fellow citizens and friends of the Reclaim Idaho campaign,
We did it. Two months ago, all we had was a 1977 Dodge camper, a map of Idaho, and a sense of urgency.
We knew that there were 78,000 Idahoans who fall in the “Medicaid gap”—who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford health insurance. Here’s something else we knew: In spite of the fact that 70 percent of Idahoans want to see our government take action to address this problem, our elected representatives have done nothing.
With your support and encouragement, we refurbished our old camper into a “Medicaid Mobile,” and we hit the road on July 25th. Between then and now we made 20 stops from the Panhandle to the Tetons and back again.
We made it on TV, public radio, and local newspapers all across the state. We rallied in Farmers Markets and on bandstands. We spoke to gathered crowds in cities, we knocked on doors in tiny towns, we swarmed parking lots with flyers and sign-up sheets in communities where, we were told, no one would sympathize with our message.
In every community we visited, we found overwhelming support for the expansion of Medicaid.
We heard stories of hope. We met young Idahoans determined to run for office and older Idahoans engaging in the political process for the first time. We heard stories of pain: Cashiers and cooks who lost Medicaid coverage because they went out and got a job; young single mothers working two and three jobs to cover medical bills of relatives while also trying to raise children; people who will leave this state that they love, and who will leave family behind, simply because they can’t find affordable healthcare in Idaho.
Everywhere we went, we found resounding support for the policy of expanding Medicaid. We have a green camper covered in Sharpie signatures to prove it, and the towns written beside the names are not just Moscow and Boise. They’re also American Falls, Blanchard, Blackfoot, Wallace, Cottonwood, St. Maries, Priest River, Challis, Shelley, and so many more.
On Sunday we wrapped up our final stop at the Raspberry Festival near Cottonwood. The tour is finished, but this campaign is far from over. After hearing so many stories of pain and hope, we are more determined than ever to reclaim the best traditions of this state and this country.
In the weeks and months ahead, we will continue to share stories and reflections from our time on the road. We’re convinced that if the voters of Idaho hear the stories we’ve heard, they will demand change in 2018.
For those who have joined this campaign, we will work in the coming weeks to develop a clear plan of action for how you can make a difference in November 2018. We firmly believe that this election cycle is an unprecedented opportunity to fight for strong public schools, protected public lands, and affordable healthcare for every Idahoan.
Stay tuned, stay engaged, and most importantly of all: Keep believing that we are all in this together, and that change is possible when we organize around the values that unite us.
-The Reclaim Idaho Team