Senator Souza Seeks to Escape the Will of the People with Senate Bill 1100

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho – February 19th, 2018 – The Medicaid expansion initiative passed by 58% percent of the vote in Senator Mary Souza’s legislative district, despite her opposition to providing health care to working residents of Kootenai County. Just like when she opposed McEuen Park and the Kroc Center, Senator Souza continues to ignore the will of the people she represents by introducing Senate Bill 1100.

The Kootenai County Democratic Central Committee (KCDCC) opposes Senator Souza’s bill because it is a hollow attempt to prevent hard-working Idahoans from receiving the benefit of their vote. As noted in her “My Turn” article of February 16, 2019, Senator Souza attempted to remove working citizens of Kootenai County that earn 138% of the federal poverty level from the Medicaid rolls and put them “back in the gap.” She admitted in her own article that such a scheme is “not feasible” and will be removed from her proposed Senate Bill 1100.

The KCDCC also opposes Senate Bill 1100 because it does not include a fiscal impact statement, fails to identify any federal waiver programs that would assist counties with mental health disability expenditures, and does not identify the supposed “emergency” that makes implementing the bill immediately a necessity. Additionally, Senator Souza’s proposal merely refers Medicaid recipients to the Department’s existing workforce training program without increased funding for the program and requires the Legislature to perform a 2023 review at further taxpayer expense.

It is the position of the KCDCC that an “escape clause” creates uncertainty for Medicaid recipients because the Legislature can cut off health care benefits on a whim. If the federal government reduces the available funds, then the Idaho Legislature can address Idaho Legislature’s regular, annual budgetary process.

The KCDCC stands with the 61% of Idahoans who voted for the Medicaid expansion initiative and calls on the Idaho legislature to cease efforts to “escape” the will of the people. The time to implement the will of the people has come.

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