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"I think that that's the wisest thing - to prevent illness before we try to cure something."
- Maya Angelou, American poet, singer, story teller, and civil rights activist

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Medicaid Expansion Waivers

Last November, by a clear margin, the voters used the ballot initiative process to expand Medicaid coverage to many Idahoans who had been living without health insurance. This monumental achievement was diluted by the legislature when it passed Senate Bill 1204, which included work requirements among other limitations. Unfortunately, other states' experiences with work requirements show that they do not result in more people working and they do result in fewer people with health insurance, often due to bureaucratic requirements.

The limitations on Medicaid Expansion passed by the legislature require the federal government's approval through a waiver process. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is now drafting and seeking federal approval of those waivers. As part of that process, the department is seeking public comment. Please take a look at the department's website and participate in the public comment process over the coming weeks. You can oppose work requirements and other limitations on Medicaid Expansion in your comments.

Idahoans created this opportunity for so many of our friends and neighbors to have meaningful access to healthcare. Please continue to raise your voice in support of Medicaid Expansion.

Interim Committee on Funding Medicaid Expansion

The federal government will fund 90 percent of the cost of Medicaid Expansion. That leaves ten percent for the State of Idaho to fund. The legislature funded the first fiscal year from savings in the Corrections and Health and Welfare budgets and by tapping the Millennium Fund (previously created with tobacco settlement proceeds).

The legislature created an interim committee to study funding issues for future years. This committee has met once and heard from county officials and others on this topic. Three more meetings are scheduled before the 2020 legislative session.

It is crucial that we fully fund Medicaid Expansion in a way that does not over-burden counties, which could be forced to pass costs on to property tax payers.

Administrative Rules

Historically, the legislature has passed a bill each year authorizing all of the state's administrative rules. During the 2019 session, that routine matter got caught up in a legislative disagreement over how to review rules in the future and the rules were not authorized to remain in effect.

These rules govern such important matters in our state as setting fees for hunting licenses, protecting us from water pollution, creating our educational standards, and much more. Governor Little has taken this as an opportunity to review all existing rules. Eliminating obsolete rules is a worthy project, but it is important to be sure that we keep all of the rules that are important to our communities. All of this will return to the legislature for our review during the 2020 session and I expect it will occupy a lot of our time as the rules run to nearly 600 chapters.

Mandela Fellows

This summer 25 Mandela Fellows from many countries across Africa are visiting Boise State University. Out of 38,000 applicants, just 700 were chosen as Mandela Fellows. This program is run by the United States State Department as part of its Young African Leaders Initiative. They have been taking courses, building connections, volunteering at a variety of area institutions and events, and interacting with their professional peers from their disciplines here in Idaho.

As just small sampling of the professionalism and education these Fellows bring to their causes: Ndeye Fatou Seck a pediatric surgeon, from Senegal, plans to improve rural access to specialized care by creating a program that arranges visits from specialists to provide consultations and referrals. Hanza Muhammed Waziri, from Nigeria, is the CEO of HWM Global Export and Import Nigeria Limited, managing director of the Able and Capable Enterprise, and founder of the Initiative for the Liberalization of Physically Challenged People in Nigeria (ILPCPN). He is a wheelchair user and fervent advocate for disability rights.

I was proud to spend time with the Mandela Fellows as they visited the Idaho State Capitol recently. Representative Brian Cronin and I led a panel for the group on the political process. They were most complimentary about Boise and Idaho.

I was honored to have the opportunity to introduce the group to Governor Otter, who was generous with his time. In a Q and A, one of the Fellows stated how appreciative they are for the opportunity to learn from the people of Idaho. She said that she also would be appreciative if the people of Idaho would learn about Africa and the people of Africa. The Governor responded by discussing his travels in Africa and letting the group know that he is familiar with some of their leaders. This group of enormously talented and well-educated young professionals will take what they learn here home to continue their work improving their communities.

Here to Serve You

My goal is to address the immediate needs of District 19 while working strategically toward long term solutions. It is my honor to serve you in the Idaho State Senate. Know that your letters, emails, texts, and calls are invaluable. I appreciate hearing what is most important to you and your family.

You can reach me at (208) 332-1339 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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Cherie Buckner-Webb
Senate D-19 Campaign
P.O. Box 9813
Boise, ID 83707

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Phone: 208-861-5482