Idaho residents will vote on Medicaid expansion in November

Idaho residents will vote on Medicaid expansion in November
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Voters in Idaho will get to decide in November whether the state will expand Medicaid, Secretary of State Lawerence Denney announced Tuesday.

Denney certified that an activist group collected the required 56,192 signatures needed to place the measure on the ballot.

Supporters of the measure say it would provide coverage for up to 62,000 Idahoans who now fall into a coverage gap, making too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to qualify for subsidized health insurance through the state insurance exchange.

If the state were to expand Medicaid coverage, the federal government would pay 90 percent of the cost. Idaho is one of 18 states that have yet to expand coverage under ObamaCare using federal money.

Idaho joins Utah as red states where Medicaid expansion will be put to a vote. Nebraska activists turned in enough signatures, and are awaiting official certification to be eligible. Voters in Montana may also vote on a measure extending their expansion, which expires in 2019.

Even if Idaho voters approve the ballot measure in November, state lawmakers and the governor will have to implement expansion. Most Idaho politicians have opposed expansion.

Voters in Maine overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure last year expanding their state's program, but implementation has been continually blocked by Republican Gov. Paul LePage. LePage is currently being sued over his refusal.