Health Care Victory Not For All Idahoans

Today, the Supreme Court rejected an attack on the Affordable Care Act, our country’s historic health care law. Now, 6.4 million people can rest more easily, knowing their health insurance won’t be stripped away.

ICAN led grassroots leaders in the fight for health care for everyone in Idaho. The ACA was a major victory, and it’s here to stay.

“But it’s not time for us to celebrate in Idaho,” said Robynhawk Wilson, ICAN board member. “Our lawmakers have refused to expand Medicaid, and about 90,000 Idahoans are being shut out of quality health care as a result. This refusal is steeped in racial injustice: a large portion of those still excluded are people of color.”

In Idaho about 450 citizens die each year without access to health care. Currently, adults with incomes between 26-100% FPL do not qualify for subsidies through the ACA or Medicaid benefits.

“The country is moving forward with health reform, and our state lawmakers have no more excuses. It’s time to stand up for all Idahoans.”

Critical Need: Redesigning Medicaid in Idaho, #2

photo of a woman sitting at a restaurant smiling into the cameraRobin Evans, Grangeville. Together my husband and I share a newspaper delivery contract. Seven days a week, we wake up early to deliver newspapers to neighboring communities. In total we travel an average of 575 miles each week over rural mountain passes and all the papers must be delivered before most people wake up. For all our dedication and commitment , we earn less than $1000/ month.

Shortly after I return home from the delivery route, I prepare for my second part-time job, working in the cafeteria at the elementary school. Combined, these two part-time jobs still leave us without a living wage, without access to health care and without sufficient income to meet monthly expenses.

Our family lives on about $13,000, and for our family size our income falls under 100% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). In Idaho, we are not eligible for health care through the Medicaid program. We also do not qualify for any subsidies in the Health Care Exchange, as subsidies begin at 100% FPL. No access to health care for more than five years played it toll last year on our family and we have racked up hospital bills of more than $25,000 and health issues demanding access. My husband has been unable to work because of medical issues, for which he has no access.

A lack of a decent wage has put us in a precarious housing situation. We are grateful to the generosity of a fellow church member for a house to rent, even though we struggle and fall behind on rent. Still, we keep doing the best that they can to get through each month, relying on community food programs and prioritizing which bills to pay and what medications we can live without. Without access to health care, we are walking time bombs. It’s time to take action and close the coverage gap!

Critical Need: Redesigning Medicaid in Idaho, # 1

Screenshot_2015-01-15-09-21-32-1Genevieve Sylvia, 20, Orofino. When I turned 19, I lost my Medicaid coverage. I was also diagnosed with a serious kidney condition. I want a better life. I studied hard to become a phlebotomist. I want a good job that pays a living wage, but there are few health care jobs available in northern Idaho. So I work as a home caregiver, making minimum wage and going without health insurance. I don’t make enough money to qualify for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. New reports show that expanded Medicaid would actually bring 16,000 more jobs — good paying jobs in the health field — to Idaho. It would put people to work. It would improve the state’s economy. A good job and access to health care is a win-win for everyone, but it could also save my life.

Ms. Sylvia is one of 78,000 Idahoans that could be helped by the Medicaid Redesign plan that is recommended by the Governor-appointed Medicaid expansion workgroup. Please call or write your legislators today and tell them to expand Medicaid in 2015!!