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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Hillarie Hagen: Medicaid gets strong support from Idaho voters

Hillarie Hagen

By Hillarie Hagen

Idaho voters showed their support for Medicaid expansion in 2018 by passing it at the ballot with 61% of the vote. A recent poll shows support has only grown since implementation, with 67% of Idaho voters now supporting Medicaid expansion. If there was ever a case to be made to strengthen Idaho Medicaid, we need only to point to this growing public support.

The reasons are clear. Medicaid improves health outcomes in our state, ensuring children are healthy enough to go to school, parents to work, and families to be contributing members in our communities – without needing to choose between health and groceries or rent. Children can go to the doctor when they are sick, pregnant women can get prenatal care, and low-wage adult workers whose employers don’t offer health benefits can get health coverage because of Medicaid.

Despite the benefits to Idahoans, there has been a belief among lawmakers that Idaho voters may not support Medicaid expansion as they once did. We decided to put that to the test and in July 2023 commissioned a comprehensive statewide poll of 700 likely Idaho voters to gauge their opinions on the Medicaid program. The poll, which oversampled Republican voters, revealed robust bipartisan support for Medicaid among Idaho voters:

• 75% of Idaho voters – and 69% of Republican voters – had a favorable opinion of Medicaid.

• 87% believe it’s important to have a strong and sustainable Medicaid program.

Voters understand that Medicaid is necessary for low-income and rural families with 81% of voters and 75% of Republicans believing the government should assist some individuals in obtaining and paying for health care.

Idaho voters see that access to health coverage and health care is important to keeping our communities healthy. Voters have little appetite to make cuts to Medicaid spending:

• 73% of voters believe that Medicaid expansion should be kept as is because it was passed by the voters and is helping those in need.

• 64% believe the state needs to spend more on schools without cutting Medicaid.

• 59% believe Medicaid provides substantial economic benefits to the state and taxpayers and that Idaho would be foolish to turn down any federal money for low-income health care.

Voters do not support program cuts that would affect critical health services. More than 3 in 4 Idaho voters oppose cuts to health services such as dental, primary care, rural health care, mental health care, and prescriptions. In fact, more than 77% of voters support leveraging Medicaid to increase health care access for pregnant mothers and covering more maternity care services.

As lawmakers look toward the upcoming legislative session and have important decisions to make regarding Medicaid, it’s important to consider that Idaho voters overwhelmingly see Medicaid as a worthy, important, and economically beneficial investment. We look forward to partnering with policymakers to drive improvements in Medicaid so more Idahoans can access the care they need when they need it. To view the poll results, visit

Hillarie Hagen resides in Boise with her family. She is an Idaho native and graduated from Boise State University in 2017 with honors. For the past six years, she has led health policy initiatives for Idaho Voices for Children to improve access to health coverage for Idaho families.