Medicaid Expansion Wins at the Ballot Box – States are Obligated to Implement Next Year
Washington, DC - Three ballot initiatives to expand Medicaid passed at Tuesday’s mid-term election. Voters in Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah voted to expand health coverage through Medicaid to thousands of people across their states, bringing the total number of states who have expanded Medicaid to 36 including the District of Columbia.
Following is a quote from Patrick Willard, Senior Director of State and National Strategic Partnerships at Families USA.
“Health care wins at the ballot, and the voters of Idaho, Utah, and Nebraska gave historic victories to provide health care coverage for adults and families in their states. Families USA is proud of the work of our health care partners who were successfully able to educate and support the measures to expand Medicaid. The people of Utah, Idaho, and Nebraska have spoken loud and clear after waiting years for their elected leaders to ensure their families, friends, and neighbors have access to affordable, life-saving health coverage. Our work with these state groups and national partners over the last 18 months on this effort has been incredibly rewarding and will continue in the months ahead.
“Families USA partnered with The Fairness Project to take up these ballot referendums. We are proud of the role we have played to earn these wins and expand health care coverage for those who need it most.
“It’s an incredibly powerful message to see the voters in three conservative states to stand up in support of the Medicaid program. While we are incredibly thrilled by the ballot initiative results, the work to get people access to coverage is far from over. The ballot initiatives have now become state law and each state is responsible for submitting a State Plan Amendment – the authority states must submit to the federal government for approval to expand Medicaid – to the federal government by the deadlines indicated in the ballot initiative language. In Utah and Nebraska, the deadline to submit the State Plan Amendment to the federal government is April 1, 2019. Within 90 days of the election result in Idaho, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is required to submit the State Plan Amendment, making their submission deadline in early March of 2019.
“Lawmakers have an obligation to implement the ballot initiatives, which are now state law, just as they would with any other law that the governor would sign. Families USA and state partners have every reason to believe that state lawmakers will fulfill their obligation to the constituents of their states by upholding the new law to expand Medicaid in their states and submitting the State Plan Amendment by the deadlines.”