In 2019, our most important job is to hold our elected officials accountable to the will of the voters. Legislative Town Halls give us a unique opportunity to demonstrate our dedication for expanding healthcare to 62,000 Idahoans. Showing up with other supporters, asking direct questions, and ensuring our voices are heard will indicate to those in power that we will accept nothing less than Medicaid Expansion, fully funded and implemented exactly as written and passed by the voters.

Preparation:

Once a town hall is announced, follow these steps to fully utilize the opportunity to have our voices heard.

  • Get the word out!

    • Notify other supporters that a town hall was announced. Send out emails, post on social media, and make some calls. Express the importance of having a well attended event because our greatest strength is the amount of people who are passionate about Medicaid Expansion.

  • Know the legislator(s) at the town hall

    • Each district is unique and we may need to message differently depending on the legislator. Find out what committees your representatives serve on. If they are on either the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) or the Health and Welfare committee it is vital your questions acknowledge the importance of their position. Find out if your legislator came out in favor or against Prop 2 during the election. The more information you find, the better.

  • Set a goal and plan your questions

    • Once you know your legislator, set a goal for the town hall and plan your questions around that goal. These town halls are most effective when we not only express our position but also push our legislators to define and clarify where they stand. See the strategy section to help shape your goal.

  • Gather together to plan

    • If time allows, plan a huddle the day before or right before the town hall. Gather supporters and share information and messaging documents. Assign questions to supporters and have a plan for a follow up question if the legislator doesn’t answer directly. Plan to spread supporters throughout the crowd.

  • Identify who will record the town hall

    • Recording the town hall is important to keep your legislators accountable. It also allows supporters who couldn’t attend an opportunity to hear what was discussed and gives other teams around the state an example once they have their own local town hall. Identify who will record and how it will be shared online. Make sure to share the recording with Reclaim Idaho or the Medicaid for Idaho- Group on Facebook.

Strategy:

What if my legislator already supports Medicaid Expansion?

  • That’s great! It is still important to show up to a supportive legislators town hall and thank them for their support. Reinforcing that their position on Medicaid Expansion is popular with their constituents. It is also important to ensure their position is clear. They may support Medicaid Expansion but also support modifying the law. Ask direct questions that require them to make their position clear.

  • Potential goals: Getting a supportive legislator to come out against any waivers/sideboards/and barriers to coverage. Getting a supportive legislator to commit to fighting for quick and proper funding.

  • Sample questions: Thank you Representative/Senator _____ for coming out in support for Medicaid Expansion. Your constituents here in District __ fully support your position and we are looking forward to you representing us during this legislative session.

    • Can we also count on you to implement Medicaid Expansion without additional waivers, sideboards, and barriers to coverage?

    • Can we also count on you to fight for funding for the new Medicaid population?

    • What waivers, sideboards, or barriers to coverage would you be willing to support and why?

What if my legislator came out against Medicaid Expansion?

  • Unfortunately, some legislators came out against Medicaid Expansion during the Election. It is important to emphasize just how much support Prop 2 received throughout the state and clarify if your legislator has moved on the issue. Idaho has a citizen legislature, which means our representatives are expected to represent their constituents and not their personal beliefs.

  • Potential goals: Getting an unsupportive legislator to commit to not championing the fight against Medicaid. Getting an unsupportive legislator to commit to upholding the will of the people even if they personally disagree with the policy.

  • Sample questions: Thank you Representative/Senator _____  for holding this town hall and allowing your constituents a place to voice their concern. During the election you came out against Expanding Medicaid but the voters passed Prop 2 with more than 60% and in district __ with __%.

    • Can we count on you to support your constituents by implementing Medicaid Expansion exactly as it was written without additional waivers, sideboards, and barriers to coverage?

    • What waivers, sideboards, or barriers to coverage would you be willing to support?

    • Can we count on you to vote in favor of funding the 10% match that Idaho is responsible for.

    • Can we count on you to not sponsor legislation that would change or modify Medicaid Expansion?

What if my legislator has already stated they will support the will of the voters?

  • This phrase has become popular for legislators to say when asked about Medicaid Expansion. We should be cautiously optimistic when we hear it because this phrase indicates they are aware of the voters support behind the new law but it may be up to interpretation on what exactly supporting the will of the voters looks like in practice.

  • Potential goals: Getting your legislator to clarify exactly what supporting the will of the voters means to them. Getting your legislator to commit to voting no on any bill that would change the law exactly as it was written. Getting your legislator to commit to voting in favor of full funding.

  • Sample questions: Thank you Representative/Senator _____  for holding this town hall and allowing your constituents a place to voice their concern. You have stated that you will support the will of the voters in regards to Medicaid Expansion and Prop 2 won with 61% of the vote.

    • Can we count on you to support funding the 10% match that Idaho is responsible for?

    • Can we count on you to oppose any changes to the law, including waivers, sideboards, or barriers to coverage?

    • What waivers, sideboards, or barriers to coverage would you be willing to support?

    • Can we count on you to not sponsor any legislation that would change the law as voted in by your constituents?

What if my legislator has endorsed making changes to the law or obstructing the funding?

  • The hardest fight we face will be attempting to move opponents of Medicaid Expansion to undecided or supporters. Luckily, we have the people’s vote behind us and anything less than adhering to the will of the voters will be met with resistance.

  • Potential goals: Moving your legislator from a no vote on funding to a yes vote. Moving your legislator from advocating for waivers, sideboards, or barriers to coverage to committing not to sponsor those bills.

  • Sample questions: Thank you Representative/Senator _____  for holding this town hall and allowing your constituents a place to voice their concern. You have come out in support of adding additional barriers to coverage to Medicaid Expansion. I would urge you to reconsider this position. Prop 2 won with 61% support and the voters did not vote in favor of modifying this law. Barriers to coverage are costly and ineffective. (Tell personal story)

    • Can we count on you to not sponsor or introduce a bill that would modify our new law?

    • Can we count on you to support funding for Medicaid Expansion without additional sideboards?

Questions? Email reclaim4medicaid@gmail.com