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Opinion >  Guest Opinion

Adam Jacobs: Idaho’s expanded Medicaid is good for the state

Adam Jacobs

Thanks to Idaho voters and the commitment of state leaders to follow through on their wishes, more than 60,000 adults who could not access health coverage just a few months ago are now covered by Medicaid expansion.

I am one of those Idahoans. When I graduated from BYU-Idaho in 2017, I knew I wanted to work and continue raising my children here. Idaho is very attractive to those who want to build a career and raise their kids with strong values. I was able to stay in Rexburg after securing a good job working remotely for a Salt Lake City company.

However, as life sometimes happens, the company did a mass layoff and I was one of the many people who lost their job. I found myself without health insurance and looking for work. But because Idaho expanded Medicaid, accessing health coverage is one less stressful thing on my plate. Medicaid expansion is providing the health coverage I need to maintain my health while I search for a job to support my family – giving me the financial protection and peace of mind I need during this time of transition.

Gov. Little’s budget recommendation for funding Medicaid expansion is both pragmatic and fiscally responsible. The governor has laid out a road map that uses savings at the state and local levels through cost reductions in corrections, behavioral health services and the courts without spending state general fund dollars, which we need for education and other important state priorities. When you combine the state savings and economic benefits of Medicaid expansion, Idaho will save taxpayer dollars and people’s lives. It’s the right thing to do to keep Idaho moving forward – stimulating job creation, revenue generation and enhanced health outcomes for years to come.

Families are the fabric and foundation of our state. Gov. Little continuously puts families at the forefront of his policy agenda in order to make Idaho a stable and good place to raise a family. Part of this formula is financial stability. One of the biggest drivers in financial stability is the ability to pay for health care. Tough times happen for folks, especially young families like mine who are just getting started. Medicaid expansion ensures we have the health care we need to improve our ability to work without the threat of medical debt or bankruptcy. Families are better positioned to move up the economic ladder and contribute in meaningful ways to our community when our mental and physical health care needs are covered.

In the next week or two, the Idaho Legislature will have the opportunity to support the governor’s budget recommendation to fully fund Medicaid expansion. Idahoans from every legislative district are seeing the benefits of Medicaid expansion and continued funding for Medicaid expansion is simply a smart investment for Idaho. Please join me in reaching out to your legislator to ask them to support the governor’s budget recommendation to fully fund Medicaid expansion and demonstrate how they value taking steps to strengthen Idaho’s working families and our economy.

Adam Jacobs lives in Rexburg with his wife and four children. He graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in communication.

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