Health Law

State supreme court finds Medicaid expansion constitutional

  • Print

Photo by designer491/

The Idaho Supreme Court upheld on Tuesday a voter-approved initiative that allows anyone who makes less than 138 percent of poverty-level income to qualify for Medicaid coverage.

The court ruled against the Idaho Freedom Foundation, which alleged that Proposition 2 gave too much power to the federal government and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, according to the Idaho Statesman and the Idaho Press.

Despite the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s argument that the initiative referenced federal law, and as a result, could force Idaho to pay for Medicaid expansion even if the federal government eliminated its funding, the court wrote that “many Idaho statutes reference federal law.”

“In fact, Idaho’s existing Medicaid statute, even prior to expansion, incorporates federal law to determine eligibility,” the opinion said. “If we were to accept [the IFF’s] argument that any reference to a federal statute delegates lawmaking authority to the federal government, then many of Idaho’s statutes would be unconstitutional, and in fact, the option of any cooperative federal-state program would be curtailed.”

According to the Idaho Statesman, Medicaid expansion will make Idaho’s working poor—those in the “Medicaid gap”—eligible for public health insurance in 2020.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.