Idaho voters will decide this fall whether to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, state Secretary of State Lawerence Denney said Tuesday, after proponents turned in more than enough signatures to put the issue on the general-election ballot.
Mr. Denney certified the initiative, which required grassroots supporters to collect 56,192 signatures from across the state.
Reclaim Idaho, the campaign behind the effort, says up to 62,000 Idaho residents would be newly eligible for coverage if the state opts to embrace federal dollars that would help it expand Medicaid, the federal-state insurance program for the poor.
“It’s OFFICIAL! Medicaid Expansion is officially on the Nov. 6 ballot,” the campaign declared on Twitter.
Obamacare called on all states to expand Medicaid to those making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, though the Supreme Court made it optional in 2012.
While federal taxpayers pick up most of the burden, states will have to pay for 10 percent of the cost of the expansion population in 2020 and beyond.
Thirty-three states, plus D.C., have expanded, though holdout states say the rising state share would bust their budgets. Other critics point to lingering GOP efforts to replace Obamacare with a more conservative program.
Tired of waiting on elected policymakers, activists in a series of states decided to put the issue directly to voters.
Besides Idaho, canvassers in the red states of Utah and Nebraska appear to have gathered enough signatures to put the issue on the November ballot.
Maine voters approved expansion in 2017, though Republican Gov. Paul LePage has blocked the expansion from proceeding until the legislature finds a way to pay for the state share without raising taxes on families or businesses, using one-time budget “gimmicks” or raiding a budget-stabilization fund.
Mr. LePage recently appealed a court order that said his administration must submit a plan for expansion to the federal Health and Human Services Department.