“Sometimes the less you make, the more you’re required to pay,” Snapp said. “The burden shouldn’t fall completely on Idahoans. Everyone needs health coverage and it shouldn’t depend on how much you make. If I didn’t have insurance, I would fall into the [Medicaid] gap.”
- Harrison Berry
If the signatures are approved by Denney, Idahoans will have a chance to vote on expanding Medicaid on the November ballot.
Speaking from the podium on the Capitol steps and wearing a white lab coat, physician and past president of the Idaho Medical Association Dr. Bruce Beltzer said, "I'm glad [this coat] isn't black. ... It signifies commitment and compassion for patients, and that includes the 62,000 patients who are in 'the gap."
"The gap" refers to people whose incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid, but too low to afford private insurance. Expanding the program in Idaho has been floated in numerous legislative sessions, notably earlier this year, when a bill was stalled by the Republican majority.
- Harrison Berry
- Dawn Snapp brought her dog, Rico Bonito, to the Medicaid expansion rally.
She said it was her constituents who caused her to break with her party on the topic.
"By the time [my constituents] talk to a legislator, they have nowhere to go," Perry said, adding that she felt helpless during the last legislative session.
To people on the fence about Medicaid expansion, she said, "When they contemplate the value of a life, I think they'll understand."
A dedicated group of volunteers was central to collecting the signatures in favor of voting on expansion. Reclaim Idaho spearheaded the effort with a shoe-leather and door-knocking approach, and organizer Emily Strizich, who recruited volunteers, said the public reacted favorably to the people who came to their doors looking for signatures.
"The whole goal was to meet people who had a lot of energy and wanted to take leadership," she said. "If somebody is volunteering their time, they're so much more invested."