Idaho Legislature, when will you prioritize healthcare?

While the GOP Affordable Care Act replacement bill is, in many ways a complete disaster, it wouldn’t touch Medicaid expansion until 2020. That means there is still an opportunity for the Idaho Legislature to do the right thing and expand Medicaid to help the 78,000 Idahoans who have no access to healthcare.

Unfortunately it’s business as usual for the majority party though, putting party politics over Idahoans once again.

People are literally dying as a result of having no access to healthcare in Idaho and our lawmakers offer up a band aid to stop the bleeding.

The Senate Health & Welfare Committee voted this week to move their band-aid bill, SB1142, to the Senate floor. This bill, sponsored by the Con-Con guy, Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, would allocate $10 million to some essential health services for a portion of the gap population. While it is a good thing to support services such as our community clinics, this bill would not provide coverage for anyone, and would have no significant effect on the needs of people with serious and persistent mental illness or people with disabilities who are in the insurance coverage gap. Hagedorn himself admitted that the bill was not enough to actually solve the existing problem. So, ummmm, how about sponsoring a bill that WOULD solve the problem, Marv?

About 100 doctors and supporters of Medicaid expansion showed up to testify at the committee meeting. None were given the opportunity to talk though, the bill was discussed during the last 15 minutes of the meeting and then the door was slammed shut. There is only one way to interpret this –  The Idaho Legislature doesn’t care what we have to say.

This bill is a band-aid for a broken neck.

We agree with Sen. Maryanne Jordan, D-Boise, the only member of the committee to vote against advancing the bill to the full Senate: “Medicaid expansion is clearly the best option for Idaho in some form.”

It’s past time for Idaho Republicans to stop putting party politics before Idahoans.
Here is a short video we snapped of folks at the Capitol who came to testify. Feel free to send it to your Senator since they wouldn’t listen to anyone in the committee.

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