Breaking News
March 24, 2019 - Enzyme inhibitor stops inflammation and neurodevelopmental disorders in mouse models
March 24, 2019 - Walk, Dance, Clean: Even a Little Activity Helps You Live Longer
March 24, 2019 - Americans used less eye care in 2014 versus 2008
March 24, 2019 - Study finds link between depression in 20s linked to memory loss in 50s
March 24, 2019 - New tool helps physiotherapy students to master complex fine motor skills
March 24, 2019 - The AMR Centre secures £2.3m funding boost
March 24, 2019 - Study examines effects of taking ondansetron during first trimester of pregnancy
March 24, 2019 - Researchers identify a more effective treatment for cancer
March 24, 2019 - Open-source solution for multiparametric optical mapping of the heart’s electrical activity
March 24, 2019 - New nanotechnology approach shows promise in treating triple negative breast cancer
March 24, 2019 - Trevena Announces Publication of APOLLO-1 Results in The Journal of Pain Research Highlighting Oliceridine’s Potential for Management of Moderate-to-Severe Acute Pain
March 24, 2019 - Maternal deaths following C-section 50 times higher in Africa compared to high-income countries
March 24, 2019 - Apple watch could detect irregular heart beat says study
March 24, 2019 - Queen Mary University of London’s BCI boosts radionuclide imaging capabilities with MILabs VECTor technology
March 24, 2019 - Girls should be encouraged to gain more ball skills, shows study
March 24, 2019 - Acute doses of synthetic cannabinoid can impair critical thinking and memory
March 24, 2019 - Presence of bacteria in urine does not always point to infection, shows study
March 24, 2019 - Scientists identify a new role for nerve-supporting cells
March 24, 2019 - Hidden differences between pathology of CTE and Alzheimer’s disease discovered
March 24, 2019 - Knowing causative genes of osteoporosis may open door to more effective treatments
March 24, 2019 - Toilet-seat based cardiovascular monitoring system getting ready to begin commercialization
March 24, 2019 - New model for intensive care identifies factors that send ill patients to ICU
March 24, 2019 - Recommendations Issued for HSCT in Multiple Myeloma
March 24, 2019 - Deep brain stimulation provides sustained relief for severe depression
March 24, 2019 - “Statistical significance” may soon be a thing of past?
March 24, 2019 - Researchers track effects of epigenetic marks carried by sperm chromosomes
March 24, 2019 - AHA News: Family Adopts Three Children With Three Different Heart Conditions
March 24, 2019 - Research into opioid painkillers could provide clues for safer drug development
March 23, 2019 - Lung cancer survivor recounts her lifetime struggles
March 23, 2019 - Radial and femoral approach for PCI achieve similar results in terms of survival
March 23, 2019 - Study sheds light on the optimal timing of coronary angiography in NSTEMI patients
March 23, 2019 - Excess hormones could cause a condition that can lead to blindness in women, study finds
March 23, 2019 - Dramatic shifts in first-time opioid prescriptions bring hope, concern
March 23, 2019 - Antidepressant drugs may not work when neurons are out of shape
March 23, 2019 - TTUHSC El Paso to establish endowed chair in neurology through a major grant
March 23, 2019 - New device approved by FDA for treating patients with moderate-to-severe heart failure
March 23, 2019 - People with peripheral artery disease have lower Omega-3 Index, shows research
March 23, 2019 - Trigger warnings have minimal impact on how people respond to content, shows research
March 23, 2019 - Gilead Announces Data From Two Studies Supporting Further Development of GS-6207, a Novel, Investigational HIV-1 Capsid Inhibitor as a Component of Future Long-Acting HIV Therapies
March 23, 2019 - Selfish genetic elements amplify inflammation and age-related diseases
March 23, 2019 - Study provides new understanding of how the brain recovers from damage caused by stroke
March 23, 2019 - CRISPR/Cas libraries could revolutionize drug discovery
March 23, 2019 - Allergic reaction during pregnancy may alter sexual-development in offspring’s brain
March 23, 2019 - Seeing through a robot’s eyes helps those with profound motor impairments
March 23, 2019 - Recent research shows that ease of breastfeeding after C-section differs culturally
March 23, 2019 - Newly discovered parameters offer more control over efficient release of drugs
March 23, 2019 - ‘De-tabooing’ of abortion- Women would like more support from health care community
March 23, 2019 - Anti-TB drugs can increase susceptibility to Mtb reinfection
March 23, 2019 - New survey indicates need of attention to neglected tropical diseases
March 23, 2019 - Innovative in vitro method to develop easy-to-swallow medicine for children and older people
March 23, 2019 - Sugary drinks could raise risk of early deaths finds study
March 23, 2019 - Lian wins ENGINE grant for stem-cell-based therapy to treat Type 1 diabetes
March 23, 2019 - Overall, Physicians Are Happy and Enjoy Their Lives
March 23, 2019 - Researchers discover how blood vessels protect the brain during inflammation
March 23, 2019 - CDC study shows modest improvement in optimal hospital breastfeeding policy
March 23, 2019 - Family-based prevention program to reduce alcohol use among older teens
March 23, 2019 - Remote monitoring of implanted defibrillators in heart failure patients prevents hospitalizations
March 23, 2019 - Appropriate doffing of personal protective equipment may reduce healthcare worker contamination
March 23, 2019 - Window screens can suppress mosquito populations, reduce malaria in Tanzania
March 23, 2019 - Researchers discover new biomarker for postoperative liver dysfunction
March 23, 2019 - Pregnancy history may be linked to cognitive function in older women, finds study
March 23, 2019 - Study shows ticagrelor is equally safe and effective as clopidogrel after heart attack
March 23, 2019 - FDA Approves First Drug for Postpartum Depression, Zulresso (brexanolone)
March 23, 2019 - New guidelines outline new treatment management for psoriasis
March 23, 2019 - Thermally abused cooking oil may promote progression of breast cancer
March 23, 2019 - High-fructose corn syrup fuels growth of colon tumors in mice
March 23, 2019 - Partnership aims at establishing best practices to promote diversity in clinical trials
March 23, 2019 - New study examines presence of microbes in tap water from residences, office buildings
March 23, 2019 - Early life trauma may affect brain structure, contribute to major depressive disorder
March 23, 2019 - NIH starts clinical trial of drug to treat cravings associated with opioid use disorder
March 23, 2019 - Cervix bacteria, immune factors could be a warning signal of premature birth, reports new research
March 23, 2019 - Worst-ever emergency care performance figures underscore the need to focus on staffing
March 23, 2019 - The Current issue of “The view from here” is concerned with Cancer
March 23, 2019 - Mouse model validates how ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria affect acne
March 23, 2019 - Individual amygdala neurons respond to touch, imagery and sounds
March 23, 2019 - Combination of two topical creams can prevent cancer
March 23, 2019 - Study suggests depression screening when assessing African-Americans for schizophrenia
March 23, 2019 - New electronic support system for choosing drug treatment based on patient’s genotype
March 23, 2019 - First-of-its-kind study provides pregnancy statistics of imprisoned U.S. women
March 23, 2019 - Marinus Pharmaceuticals Initiates Phase 3 Study in Children with PCDH19-Related Epilepsy
Gun store owner marshals voters to expand Medicaid in Idaho

Gun store owner marshals voters to expand Medicaid in Idaho

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

“He’s doing a good job,” said Perry, a four-term Republican member of the Idaho legislature who has voted for a litany of conservative causes, including weakening labor unions, restricting abortion and boosting charter schools.

With those credentials, Perry hopes for another big win on Election Day — one that puts her at odds with Trump and GOP orthodoxy.

She’s helping lead the drive to persuade state voters to expand Medicaid — a central tenet of the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 law embraced by Democrats and derided by many Republicans.

Perry has been pushing for Medicaid expansion the past several years in the state legislature, but those efforts were thwarted by top House leaders. Now a ballot initiative, Proposition 2, puts the matter before Idaho voters.

Perry said Medicaid coverage is desperately needed by people struggling in low-wage jobs and the economics make sense for the state given the federal government will pay a 90 percent share. An expansion will reduce or eliminate the need for other Idaho-funded programs to help the uninsured, she said.

She said the state can’t wait any longer.

“The longer you wait, the more people die” because they miss out on care, she said.

If the push is successful on Nov. 6, about 62,000 Idaho adults would be added to the state-federal health insurance program that covers 73 million low-income Americans. It would be a major advance for Obamacare into one of the most conservative parts of the country.

Idaho is one of the remaining 17 GOP-controlled states where lawmakers have steadfastly resisted expanding Medicaid.

But voters in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah will decide next month whether to buck their political leaders and go forward with the expansion. The issue is also on the ballot in Montana, which expanded Medicaid in 2016. There, residents will decide whether to continue it past 2019.

Of those states, Idaho is arguably the least politically hospitable for Medicaid expansion. Trump carried Idaho by the largest margin — nearly 32 percentage points.

Last year, Maine became the first state to approve expanding Medicaid via a ballot referendum, although the GOP governor has stalled implementation.

Unlike Maine, where political power has been split between Democrats and Republicans in recent years, Idaho, Utah and Nebraska are solidly GOP territory.

Trump and Republican congressional leaders have vowed to repeal the health law, which made expansion possible by providing the bulk of the funding for those who qualify for new coverage.

Perry, 50, doesn’t see a problem getting Trump voters to back the expansion. She said that the Republican failure to repeal the law last year opened the door for conservative states to go forward.

“I think people here listen to that and it now falls to states to go ahead” with expansion, she said.

Supporters of the referendum were successful at garnering 70,000 signatures to put the vote on the ballot, but they face a steep challenge educating the electorate about the complexities of Medicaid financing.

Tim Dunnagan, dean of the College of Health Sciences at Boise State University, said few Idaho voters know that most states — including neighboring Oregon and Washington — have already expanded Medicaid. Because the issue can be confusing, he said, voters may gravitate to their long-held concerns about paying more taxes and government overreach.

“There is a strong sentiment that if the federal government is involved, it is not a good thing,” he said. “There’s a fierce individualism out in the West.”

Perry and the broad coalition endorsing the referendum — including teachers, employers, county sheriffs and the health industry — seek to remind voters that they are already paying for the health law’s provisions through their federal taxes and the expansion would bring $400 million in federal funds into the state.

The expansion would cover residents with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or nearly $17,000 a year for an individual. Currently, Idaho adults who do not have children and are not disabled are not eligible for Medicaid. Those with children can only qualify with incomes up to 26 percent of the poverty level, or $3,156 a year.

The expansion also would eliminate a gap for residents whose income is too low to qualify for government subsidies to buy private coverage but who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.

Supporters have canvassed neighborhoods across the state in recent weeks. Hundreds of volunteers use lists of registered voters and a special app on their phone to detail their results.

On a recent evening, about 20 people gathered about 10 miles east of downtown Boise, where a field organizer gave them voter lists and instructions on how to approach homeowners.

Tracy Olson, 54, a nurse turned real estate agent, and Jill Galanter, 55, a physical therapist, went to an upper-income planned community. About two-thirds of the people they met said they support expansion, and most of the rest had not heard about it. Only a couple of people said they oppose the ballot question.

In their one-minute pitch, Olson and Galanter explained the coverage gap for low-income residents and the millions in federal dollars the state can gain by expanding. They didn’t mention the ACA. That’s not an oversight, organizers said.

“Obamacare has a negative connotation here,” Perry said.

Mike Brown, 50, an engineer, told Olson he didn’t know the issue but added that his health costs have soared in recent years. He nodded as Olson explained whom the expansion would help.

“I can sympathize,” he said. They recorded him as a “leaning yes.”

Richard Rapp, 75, a retired head of the career center at Boise State University, said he will support the expansion for humanitarian reasons. “Too many people don’t have adequate coverage, and that ends up costing us all,” he said.

Later that week, another volunteer, Lauren Necochea, also found support in the Nampa area, west of Boise.

Norm Holm, 67, listened to her pitch. “It makes sense to me,” said Holm, a registered Republican. “Everyone deserves a decent shot at health care.”

Asked if he knew that the Medicaid expansion is part of the ACA, Holm shook his head. “If they can’t do away with it, maybe this is a way to make it better,” he said, adding that he believes the health law has good and bad parts.

In contrast, opponents of the referendum stress how Medicaid expansion is part of what they call the “failed Obamacare.”

The Idaho Republican Party and the conservative Idaho Freedom Foundation are fighting the ballot initiative. Foundation officials say it would divert dollars that could be spent on roads and education.

“Medicaid expansion is a cornerstone of Obamacare, which has failed to cover everyone and has led to increasing health costs,” said Fred Birnbaum, vice president of the foundation.

His group plans to run radio commercials, use social media and put out flyers.

Lawmakers opposed to expanding Medicaid have argued that the state could not afford its share of the cost without having to raise taxes. Under the law, the federal government pays about 90 percent of the costs for expansion and states cover the rest.

But a state-funded report this year found it would cost Idaho relatively little — $105 million over 10 years, which includes savings from state and county funds that would no longer be needed to help the uninsured. Idaho’s budget tops $3 billion a year.

Brad Little, the GOP nominee for governor who is widely expected to win in November, said he would abide by the will of the voters.

Perry is not the only Republican state lawmaker who has come out in support of expansion, but she is one of the most prominent. Perry tried — and failed — to get lawmakers to expand Medicaid. She is not running for re-election.

“Christy is well-known among GOP women and well-liked,” said Toni Lawson, vice president of government relations at the Idaho Hospital Association, which supports the initiative. She said persuading GOP women to vote for expansion will be key to a victory.

Perry said her gun store ownership and mainstream conservative values will help gain voters’ trust on Medicaid.

“Idaho is a conservative, Christian and right-to-life state, and Medicaid expansion fits right in with our morals and values we have,” she said. “It’s about doing the right thing.”

Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles