Volunteers gather petition signatures to add Medicaid expansion onto the November ballot
Months of gathering signatures by volunteers for the Reclaim Idaho group has come down to this.
The group's organizers, who are aiming to expand Medicaid and provide health care to 62,000 uninsured Idahoans through their Medicaid for Idaho petition drive, plan to submit today and Tuesday more than 60,000 signatures they've gathered to get the measure on the November ballot.
County clerks now have until June 30 to validate the 60,000 signatures. All petitions must be submitted to the Secretary of State's Office on July 6. Volunteers and supporters are planning a large celebration at the Idaho State Capitol when that happens, according to the press release.
If the measure qualifies for the ballot, voters statewide would decide its fate at the general election Nov. 6.
The effort would bring health coverage to residents who are caught in what’s known as “the health coverage gap.”
These residents earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid and too little to be eligible for financial assistance so they can afford coverage through Idaho’s health insurance exchange.
Opponents of Medicaid expansion say the measure would not change longterm problems associated with the health care industry, and they also oppose the expansion of federal entitlements. At least one candidate for governor, U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, said he would consider working to overturn the initiative.
The 60,000 signatures have been collected from all 44 counties and all 35 legislative districts across Idaho to qualify the initiative for the ballot in November, according to the press release.
The state requires 56,192 valid signatures, including signatures from 6 percent of registered voters in at least 18 legislative districts, to be turned in to county clerks by Tuesday.
Co-Leader for Ada and Canyon counties Tracy Olson, along with other volunteers, will gather at noon Tuesday at the Ada County Clerk's Office and at 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Canyon County Clerk’s Office in Caldwell to turn in the last of the required petitions.
Christina Lords: 208-377-6435, @ChristinaLords