Idaho Freedom Foundation files lawsuit challenging Proposition 2

November 23, 2018

Supporters gather on the steps of the state Capitol in downtown Boise during a July 6 rally in favor of a Medicaid expansion initiative.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation followed through with its promise to sue the state over Proposition 2, which expanded Medicaid in Idaho.

According to a filing with the Idaho Supreme Court found on the foundation’s website, the libertarian organization is suing the secretary of state, claiming that Proposition 2 is unconstitutional.

“Under well-established Idaho constitutional law, a lawmaking body’s failure to include sufficient standards in a delegation of authority renders a law passed by that lawmaking body void,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit states that the language in Proposition 2 expressly gives the Department of Health and Welfare “sweeping and general delegation of legislative power without standards” to amend the current law.

IFF Vice President Fred Birnbaum said the organization does not believe the more than 30 states that have already expanded Medicaid should not be able to do so, but Idaho’s specific path to expansion gives too much power in setting up the program to bureaucrats over elected officials. Birnbaum said he could not predict the lawsuit’s chances of success, but the organization wanted a chance to argue it be overturned in front of the highest court in Idaho.

“I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to predict how the state Supreme Court will rule,” he said. “What we’re looking for is an opportunity to present our case.”

The proposition was put on the ballot via a petition, which required 70,000 signatures. The effort was spearheaded by Reclaim Idaho, a left-leaning political advocacy group, and Christy Perry, a Nampa Republican.

The campaign was centered around closing “the gap” between voters who are eligible for medicaid and those who are able to purchase insurance on the Affordable Care Act marketplace.

The ballot measure passed by a comfortable margin, taking 60.6 percent of the vote.

Idaho Press reporter Margaret Carmel contributed to this report.

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