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By our members:

Letter to the Editor from Bonner County Human Rights Task Force-- 10/7/18


The Bonner County Human Rights Task Force has decided, for a number of reasons, to take a position on the issue of Medicaid Expansion-- and express our support for Proposition Two on the November ballot.

The first reason is that it is fair. Approximately 62,000 people in Idaho are being denied access to affordable and adequate health care because of their income. They are either making too much (over $365 a month for a single adult) or too little to qualify for subsidies ($17,000 a year) to buy health insurance. They are working at jobs with no health insurance and earning less than a living wage.

It is simply unfair, and morally repugnant to consider so many of our fellow citizens unable to pay for preventative care, going into “medical bankruptcy” in a catastrophic health crisis, or in the worst cases, dying of treatable illnesses.

Reason one is supported by Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted on Dec. 10, 1948, which states: “(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including… medical care…and security in circumstances beyond his control.”

The second reason is that it is wise. We pay taxes to the federal government that can be used to help support health care in the 33 other states that have opted for Medicaid Expansion. In Idaho the state pays about $40 million a year for emergency medical care for the indigent. If Idahoans voted to expand Medicaid, those costs would be covered by our federal tax dollars. It is estimated that phasing out indigent and catastrophic health care and expanding Medicaid, would save $625 million dollars over 10 years. Idaho tax dollars could be used to create more living wage jobs and a healthier workforce.

Approximately two-thirds of Idaho voters are convinced by these two reasons-- Republicans, Democrats and Independents. Signatures from 74,974 registered votes were gathered to put Proposition Two on the ballot.

The third reason the BCHRTF is taking a stand in favor of Proposition Two is that we CAN. It was a deliberate decision, when the Task Force formed in the early 90’s, to incorporate as a 501 © 4 organization that can come out in support of issues in harmony with our mission and goals. We have vowed “To be a resource for people experiencing discrimination based upon… socio-economic status,” among other categories. We see as unacceptable the lack of access to health care for 62,000 of our fellow citizens.

We urge you all to exercise your right to VOTE -- and to vote “Yes” on Proposition Two.