Why join Reclaim idaho?

Our movement began during the summer of 2017, when we painted a 1977 Dodge camper bright green and labeled both sides with the catchphrase “Medicaid for Idaho.” Beginning in the Panhandle, we drove southward to every corner of the state and visited over 20 communities.

Since then, we’ve come a long way. In December, we began collected signatures to put Medicaid Expansion on the ballot. In May, we turned in the 56,192 signatures needed to qualify our initiative, giving Idahoans a chance to extend healthcare to 62,000 Idahoans who desperately need it. In June, we joined the Idaho Medical Association, Idaho Voices for Children, the Fairness Project, and other partners to launch Idahoans for Healthcare, a coalition campaign with the resources and know-how to win big in November.

To date, volunteer teams have formed in 25 Idaho counties, and over 1,000 volunteers have joined our movement. Our next step is organize a statewide effort to achieve record-breaking turnout. Our goal is to win big for Medicaid Expansion and also for candidates who believe in providing healthcare for working families. We need your help! Here are three reasons why you should join this movement. 

1. There is a healthcare crisis in Idaho.

On the road last summer, we heard heart-wrenching stories from Idahoans living without access to affordable healthcare. We met young single mothers working two and three jobs to cover medical bills of relatives while also trying to raise children. We met cashiers and cooks who had received Medicaid when unemployed, but found it impossible to find affordable healthcare as soon as they found employment. We met people who will leave this state that they love, and who will leave family behind, simply because they can’t find affordable health care in Idaho.

Currently, an estimated 62,000 Idahoans fall into the “Medicaid gap,” meaning that they earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford insurance on the state health care exchange. Expanding Medicaid would extend healthcare to the 62,000 who desperately need it.

2. Medicaid Expansion is good economics.

A report by the Idaho Workgroup on Medicaid Redesign, commissioned by Governor Otter, predicts that Medicaid Expansion would support over 14,000 jobs and generate $46 million per year in new revenue. Moreover, Medicaid Expansion would save millions for the state general fund by relieving the costs of state-funded indigent care services.

Opponents of Medicaid Expansion commonly ask: Who will pay for it? The truth is that we are already paying for it. Our federal tax dollars are currently funding the Medicaid expansions of other states. In the first year alone, Medicaid Expansion would bring over $500 million of our own tax dollars back into Idaho.

3. Medicaid Expansion is popular and nonpartisan.

Our state lawmakers have balked at the idea of Medicaid expansion, but the vast majority of Idaho voters support it. Recent polling revealed that 66 percent of Idaho voters support Medicaid Expansion. This includes 77 percent of voters who identify as "independent" and 53 percent of voters who identify as Republican. 

We can win. Last summer, when we joined the statewide conversation about the need to close Idaho’s Medicaid gap, we found widespread support all across Idaho. Today, a grassroots movement led by people in every corner of the state is taking action to expand access to affordable healthcare. We hope you’ll join this movement.