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The Mountain West News Bureau is a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Idaho And Utah Voters Put Medicaid On The Ballot

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Andrea Smardon / KUER
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Idaho officially joined Utah today as the third state to try to expand Medicaid by ballot initiative.

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Both are states that chose not to expand the low-income health insurance program under the Affordable Care Act. Now, voters will decide on that expansion in November ballot initiatives.

These states would be the second and third to expand Medicaid by ballot initiative after Maine passed theirs last year. Robin Rudowitz is with the Kaiser Family Foundation. She said Maine’s success was a motivator.

“I think it was from the passage of that ballot initiative that some of these other states got more active — including Utah — in terms of trying to develop support for a ballot initiative,” Rudowitz said.

Rudowitz said there’s growing evidence that Medicaid expansion increases coverage, improves health and has a positive impact on state economies.

The initiative approach might not be smooth though. While Maine’s expansion program was approved by the voters, Gov. Paul LaPage has refused to implement it.

If voters approve the measures in Idaho and Utah, Wyoming will be the only state in the region that hasn’t expanded the program.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

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