This post was updated on March 7, 2019.
The latest on Medicaid Expansion: the bill introduced by Rep. Vander Woude (R-Nampa) places work requirements on those eligible, making it costly to implement. As far as this bill goes, two things stand out: these restrictions will waste taxpayer money by creating both an extra layer of bureaucracy, and another “gap population” of folks who can’t meet the requirements. And that means even more tax dollars wasted when those in that gap head to emergency rooms and we foot the bill through our county indigent funds and state catastrophic fund. It’s a job half done.
Beyond this particular bill, another thing is quite clear as well: the people of Idaho did not vote for work requirements. We overwhelmingly approved a law that expands access to health care through Medicaid. Period. Members of the House Health and Welfare Committee outside our district need to hear from us on this.
And in another effort to undermine our democracy and the people’s will, yesterday, Sen. C. Scott Grow (R-Eagle), brought forth a bill to raise the requirements for Idahoans to qualify a measure to the ballot for a statewide vote. Right now, citizens can put a measure on the ballot by gathering signatures from 6% of the voters in 18 of Idaho’s 35 legislative districts over a period of 18 months. If S 1159 becomes law, it would require a citizens’ initiative to gather enough signatures to represent 10% of the voters from 32 legislative districts. The proposal also calls for changing the timeframe in which signatures are gathered to only 180 days (approximately 6 months). These are HUGE changes that make it very difficult to exercise our right to make laws through the citizens’ initiative process (see the Idaho Constitution, Article III). This bill is simply bad for the democratic process.