BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Supreme Court has ruled that a voter-approved initiative expanding Medicaid in Idaho is constitutional.
The five-member panel on Tuesday rejected arguments by the Idaho Freedom Foundation that the measure was unconstitutional because it delegated authority to the federal government and the state Department of Health and Welfare.
In the Court's opinion, "What this case actually presents to the Court is not an urgent constitutional issue, but a political question. This became readily apparent at oral argument, when counsel for Regan, in urging the Court to strike down the new law, argued that what the Supreme Court is really being asked to do is to decide whether this state will “act or be acted upon” when it comes to its relationship with the federal government. "
Two members of the court dissented and said that the procedural issues with the lawsuit warranted a dismissal of the case.
Voters authorized Medicaid expansion in November after years of inaction by the Idaho Legislature.
The measure directs the state to expand Medicaid eligibility rules to include anyone earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level. That will provide access to preventative health care services for about 62,000 low-income Idaho residents. The federal government will pay for 90 percent of the estimated $400 million cost.
Lawmakers are currently working on plans to pay the state's share.