New Year, New Legislative Session!

The Legislative Session convened on Monday, January 8th, and we are already hard at work and moving fast. Draft legislation (known as an “RS”) is already being introduced, and we expect the session to continue at a quick pace until the end of March, with a number of controversial issues on Legislator’s agendas.

We are working to secure sponsors and votes for our priority legislation, expanding postpartum Medicaid. In 2018 we were able to secure Medicaid Expansion through a ballot initiative, which allowed very low-income Idahoans to secure health care through the state. We know that initiative has helped thousands of our fellow Idahoans. Currently. When a person becomes eligible for Medicaid because of pregnancy, they are only covered for 60 days after the birth of a new baby. However, we know that health challenges that might present themselves in pregnancy, like hypertension, do not resolve immediately. That is we why we must keep new mothers covered for a full 12 months after delivery, to ensure that she and her baby get a healthy start. 

We are also working with our youth advocates to help Legislators understand the critical need to provide funding and policy support for tobacco prevention and education. We know that the introduction of electronic tobacco and nicotine products to the market has drastically changed who uses tobacco and nicotine, as these products have been directly targeted at youth. In response, we have seen youth tobacco and nicotine usage rates climb. While their use of traditional, commercial cigarettes remains low (under 4% in 2021), we have seen a high of almost 25% of youth using electronic tobacco and nicotine regularly, with over 48% of students having at least tried electronic products. We’ve been able to reduce the number of youth who regularly use these products, but it is still significantly higher than traditional, commercial cigarettes, at almost 18%. Reinvestment in tobacco education and prevention funding would help reduce these numbers, and we need to update statutes to include electronic products in all tobacco and nicotine regulations.

We are working hard and moving fast to improve the health of all Idahoans so please be on the lookout for opportunities to take action!

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