As you hopefully enjoy some much-needed down time this summer, we want to make sure you are still aware what is going on in Idaho politics. In the last couple of weeks an activist group submitted and had certified a ballot initiative that is seeking to expand Medicaid under Obamacare in Idaho. The language of the initiative is nearly identical to the language of H.B. 464, a bill we helped kill this past session because it would have expanded funding to Planned Parenthood and other abortionists.
So what is a ballot initiative?
Ballot initiatives are probably one of the least understood aspects of our democratic process. The idea behind a ballot initiative is to allow citizens to have a say on issues that the legislature has not or will not take action on. It requires a certain number of registered voters to sign on to a petition asking the secretary of state to certify the issue for the ballot. Then voters get a chance to vote yes or no on the issue during the election. In theory, this sounds like an excellent idea and in some instances, it is a wonderful opportunity for every day citizens to have a say in what happens in their state. However, in many instances these initiatives are started and funded by national out-of-state groups who are pushing an agenda.
What does this mean for my state and my ballot?
When signature gatherers convince people to sign on they often don’t tell the signors exactly what they are signing. On Medicaid Expansion initiatives they will often ask people if they want children and low-income people to receive insurance. As compassionate Christians of course, we want to help people, but what isn’t immediately revealed is what Medicaid Expansion is actually funding. First, the ballot initiative expansion only covers people 18-65. Other programs already cover low-income children and people over 65, so children nor the elderly are actually helped by this initiative. Secondly, forcing the government to cover more people diverts funds from areas of government that are already struggling such as local schools, infrastructure, and law enforcement – traditional uses of government funding. On the whole, these sort of measures of lead to increased state and federal deficits. However, an even more relevant and disturbing aspect of the initiative is that it will expand funding for Planned Parenthood and abortion inducing drugs. We have been fighting to cut funding to Planned Parenthood, but this initiative is a back-door way to expand funding for Planned Parenthood.
Don’t let this initiative slip through. You will be receiving a packet in the mail that will contain information from both sides on the issue. I encourage you to carefully read the material in the packet and to vote NO on this initiative that will be so harmful to Idaho families. Share this information with your friends and family. Let them know how important it is that they do not passively allow this sort of thing to happen in Idaho.
Interim Policy Director