State Politics

Idaho Freedom Foundation asks Supreme Court to block Medicaid expansion

Volunteers gather petition signatures to add Medicaid expansion onto the November ballot

Volunteers Laurie Durocher and Paula Davis, right, gather signatures from registered voters in a Nampa neighborhood Saturday, April 7, 2018. They are looking for people in support of adding a Medicaid expansion initiative onto the November ballot.
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Volunteers Laurie Durocher and Paula Davis, right, gather signatures from registered voters in a Nampa neighborhood Saturday, April 7, 2018. They are looking for people in support of adding a Medicaid expansion initiative onto the November ballot.

The conservative Idaho Freedom Foundation is suing the state over Medicaid expansion, asking the Idaho Supreme Court to block the voter-approved law.

The IFF has been the most vocal opponent of expanding Medicaid to cover low-income and childless adults in Idaho. The group filed its petition to the state’s highest court Wednesday, exactly two weeks after announcing plans to challenge the measure.

The plaintiff named in the lawsuit is Brent Regan, an IFF board member who lives in Kootenai County.

“Tuesday’s vote was not the last word on the subject,” Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman said in a press release the day after Medicaid expansion passed with more than 60 percent of the vote. “In addition to being terrible public policy, Proposition 2 is poorly worded and likely unconstitutional. We will soon announce our next steps to protect Idaho taxpayers and future generations of Americans by preventing Proposition 2 from taking effect.”

The group takes issue with the wording of Prop. 2, arguing that it cedes too much control to the federal government and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

The group highlights one key phrase in its request to the court — that the Department of Health and Welfare must “take all actions necessary” to implement the law. That is fairly standard legal language and appears in other Idaho laws. The IFF told the court it plans to file a brief soon going into more detail about why it finds that wording unconstitutional.

The foundation also says the law would put Idaho in a powerless position if the federal government were to reduce its 90 percent share of funding for Medicaid expansion to the 71 percent it provides for pre-expansion Medicaid.

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