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Supporters rally for Medicare expansion

Around 130 supporters of “Reclaim Idaho” rallied at the State Capitol Monday in support of a Medicaid expansion law.

The expansion was approved by 61% of general election voters last November. The rally was aimed at encouraging lawmakers to adopt the law without changes.

Organizers met with legislators to lobby for passage of the law as written in the initiative.

“The people of Eastern Idaho want to see their families, friends and neighbors get access to quality healthcare so their communities can grow stronger,” said Teton County Commissioner Cindy Riegel. “We voted overwhelmingly to expand Medicaid in our state and I want to make sure that message is heard at the Capitol. As a local elected official, I know how important Medicaid Expansion is to our rural hospitals which struggle to stay afloat every year. I trust our state legislators will do their part to fulfill the will of the people.”

Supporters said the bill should be adopted without amendments like so-called “work requirements.”

Idaho Falls Dr. Kenneth Krell said such requirements don’t make any sense in Idaho. “The vast majority of Idahoans who will benefit from Medicaid Expansion already work. The rest are disabled, caring for a dependent or otherwise wouldn’t be subject to any ‘work requirement’ scheme that’s out there. Spending millions of tax dollars every year to create a bureaucracy we don’t need is wasteful and contrary to what Idahoans voted for.”

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