Idaho Young Democrats Assisting With Medicaid Expansion Efforts

Idaho Young Democrats Assisting With Medicaid Expansion Efforts

December 6 2017

The Idaho Young Democrats are all about providing healthcare to families who cannot afford it. On Sunday, December 3, Young Democrats Joe Goode and Matt Kopydlowski attended Reclaim Idaho’s “Medicaid for Idaho” meeting in Boise to do just that.

Today, over 78,000 Idahoans are unable to afford health insurance under current Medicaid rules. These families are in what is called the “gap”, where their income is too high to qualify for Medicaid, but too low to qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. In 2016, the Republican-led state legislature killed a bill that would have expanded Medicaid to the gap, leaving these families to use Go Fund Me and bankruptcy to pay for the healthcare they desperately need. Idaho Republicans are notorious for downplaying the importance of healthcare; earlier this year, Representative Raul Labrador made national headlines for claiming that lack of healthcare cannot kill anyone. In May, all of Idaho’s Congressmen and Senators voted in favor of the American Health Care Act, which would have stripped 23 million Americans of their insurance. It is unlikely that the state legislature will take any steps to make insurance more available anytime soon.

With the state and federal government controlled by a party that wants to eradicate Medicaid and Medicare, Idahoans and grassroots organizations are taking matters into their own hands. Reclaim Idaho is an organization that is fighting to keep Idaho’s public lands public, improve Idaho’s schools, and improve healthcare in the state. Their “Medicaid for Idaho” program is in the process of collecting 56,000 signatures to put Medicaid expansion on the ballot through an initiative; this will allow Idaho voices to finally be heard on this issue.

Reclaim Idaho’s plan to obtain these signatures involves getting them from 6% of constituents in 18 legislative districts. For each district, Reclaim Idaho is appointing a team captain to recruit volunteers and create plans for achieving their goal. Luke Mayville is head of the program, and is leading the charge to provide healthcare to these hardworking families.

Joe Goode, who is a member of the Idaho Young Democrats executive board and President of the Boise State Young Democrats, will be assisting the team captain in Legislative District 17 in Boise. “We have a lot of activists who are fed up and tired with the hypocrisy coming from the Republican legislators in our state,” Goode said, “[They] have been ignoring hard working and marginalized Idahoans for far too long.” Matt Kopydlowski, a Young Democrat in Boise and former field organizer for the Idaho Democratic Party, will also be assisting efforts in District 17. The deadline for signatures is May 1, 2018.

Passing this initiative would be a major victory for Idahoans who have repeatedly been snubbed by their representation in the state legislature; a 2016 poll conducted by Boise State University concluded that well over half of all Idahoans believe the state legislature must act on healthcare.

For more information on Reclaim Idaho and ways to get involved, visit their website here.