Ballot Measures Remain Critical Path for Health Care Access as Medicaid Marks 57th Anniversary
Washington, DC – Fifty-seven years since the creation of Medicaid, gridlock in Congress, rising living costs, and an ongoing pandemic underscore an urgent need to expand and protect affordable health care for millions of Americans. Ballot measures have repeatedly proven to be an effective path for people to ensure they and their families can get the care they need by taking matters into their own hands.
The Fairness Project has helped steer six statewide ballot measure campaigns to expand Medicaid and is actively supporting the South Dakotans Decide Healthcare campaign, its seventh, which will be on the ballot this November. The South Dakota measure would deliver health care for over 40,000 people and bring hundreds of millions of dollars back into South Dakota to create jobs and protect rural hospitals.
Kelly Hall, Executive Director of the Fairness Project, released the following statement ahead of the 57th anniversary of Medicaid on July 30:
“As Medicaid turns another year older, let us celebrate our continued commitment to fighting to provide affordable, quality health care to all Americans. Medicaid benefits have been a lifeline for millions of people, but twelve states still haven’t expanded their own Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act.
“For states that have refused to expand Medicaid coverage, citizen-led ballot measures have proven the most effective democratic tool to expand health care coverage, especially in purple and red states. The Fairness Project instrumentally supported all six successful ballot measures to expand Medicaid since 2017, and we will continue to do this work everywhere we can.”
The Fairness Project has won six campaigns to expand Medicaid, bringing health care coverage to 875,000 people:
Missouri Medicaid Expansion (2020)
In 2020, The Fairness Project worked with a broad coalition of grassroots groups, patient advocates, and health care providers to pass Amendment 2, a constitutional amendment expanding Medicaid to over 275,000 low-income Missourians. Voters approved the measure on August 4, 2020, by a margin of 53%-47%.
Oklahoma Medicaid Expansion (2020)
On June 30, 2020, Oklahomans voted yes on State Question 802, putting full Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma’s state constitution and out of reach from political meddling. As a result, over 200,000 Oklahomans have access to coverage, and more than $1 billion of federal tax dollars comes home every year, creating jobs and protecting rural hospitals.
Idaho Medicaid Expansion (2018)
The Fairness Project worked with Reclaim Idaho to pass a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The measure won by a margin of over 60%, and has delivered health care for over 90,000 Idahoans.
Nebraska Medicaid Expansion (2018)
In 2018, The Fairness Project led the Insure the Good Life campaign along with grassroots organizations and patient advocates to expand Medicaid to more than 90,000 Nebraskans. Voters approved the measure on November 6, 2018, by a margin of 54%-46%.
Utah Medicaid Expansion (2018)
Fairness Project led the Utah Decides Healthcare campaign to expand Medicaid in Utah, successfully passing Proposition 3, which won health care for more than 150,000 Utahns. Voters approved the measure on November 6, 2018, by a margin of 53%-47%.
Maine Medicaid Expansion (2017)
The Fairness Project worked with Mainers for Health Care in 2017 to pass a ballot measure expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, making it the first state in the nation to approve Medicaid expansion through a ballot measure. Medicaid expansion has brought health care to more than 70,000 Mainers since its implementation in 2019.