[Vision2020] Clear message from Idaho GOP - they don't care what voters want

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Wed Feb 6 02:30:30 PST 2019

Courtesy of today’s (February 6, 2019) Moscow-Pullman Daily News with thanks to Devin Rokyta.


Our View: Clear message from Idaho GOP - they don't care what voters want

Devin Rokyta, for the editorial board
The voters of Idaho were clear this past November about how they felt about Medicaid expansion.

More than 60 percent voted in support of a ballot measure to expand the state's Medicaid to include anyone earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

The message was as straight forward as you get, and it should have been the end of the battle to extend coverage to the some 62,000 Idahoans who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford health insurance through Idaho's exchange.

But, it turns out, the fight is nowhere near over, as Republicans in the Legislature, encouraged by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, have decided they know better than the people and are doing their best to water down the expansion, add restrictions not approved by voters and delay implementation.

This should be no surprise to anyone, as Republicans' inaction is the only reason the initiative was needed.

Rather than moving forward with funding and recognizing the will of the voters, Republicans instead are working to attach "sideboards" - or conditions and limitations - to the expansion. Last week, a GOP group of House members bandied about a dozen such requirements, including work restrictions, co-pay requirements and lifetime limits. These restrictions have been proven costly and useless in other states.

Roughly 300 people rallied Monday at the Capitol in support of Medicaid expansion without sideboards. Luke Mayville, co-founder of Reclaim Idaho, the group that launched the initiative effort, was among those at the rally.

"Our message is: no restrictions," he said Monday. "All experience tells us that restrictions are bad policy. And more importantly, we say 'no' because that's not what we voted for. The Legislature's job is to fund (expansion), not restrict it."

Latah County Commissioner Tom Lamar, who serves on the Region 2 Behavioral Health Board, also attended the rally.

"We need to make this as simple as possible," he said. "We need it to be as clear as voters made it - there was no complexity in what people said they wanted."

Lamar is correct, but make no mistake about it: the Idaho Republicans dominating the Legislature know exactly what the voters want, and they don't care.

We are hopeful Idaho voters will remember that message the next time these politicians are up for re-election and consider voting on performance and issues rather than political party.


Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)
Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

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