AG’s office: Freedom Foundation lawsuit against Medicaid expansion ‘frivolous, unreasonable’


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BOISE (Idaho Statesman) — The Idaho attorney general’s office says a lawsuit challenging Medicaid expansion lacks merit and is “frivolous, unreasonable and without foundation on several levels.”

The AG’s office last week told the Idaho Supreme Court that the lawsuit, brought by the Idaho Freedom Foundation conservative group, is so meritless that IFF should have to pay the state’s defense costs.

RELATED: Idaho Freedom Foundation asks Supreme Court to block Medicaid expansion

IFF board chairman Brent Regan, the named plaintiff, and IFF say Medicaid expansion would cede too much authority to the federal government and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. The attorney who filed the case is Bryan Smith with Smith, Driscoll & Associates in Idaho Falls.

But the state is rebutting that argument by telling the Supreme Court that the lawsuit should be thrown out for a number of reasons.

First, a citizen or taxpayer can’t bring a lawsuit against a government action just because they are a citizen or taxpayer, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and his attorneys wrote.

RELATED: Idaho Supreme Court will hear challenge to Medicaid expansion

“Petitioner has not alleged any harm to himself,” the brief says. “Instead, [Regan] has raised a generalized policy-based grievance against the state’s implementation of Medicaid expansion …”

The lawsuit also raises “purely hypothetical concerns” and ignores legislative mechanisms that would protect the state from those “what ifs,” the brief argues.

Two mothers and a group representing thousands of medical providers have been granted permission to enter the case as well, making an argument in favor of implementing Medicaid expansion.

RELATED: 2 moms and 3,000 doctors jump into the fight over Idaho’s Medicaid expansion

Idaho voters approved Proposition 2, expanding Medicaid to childless and low-income adults, by more than 60 percent in the 2018 election. The measure received support from Republican and Democratic voters, including in solidly Republican counties.

Oral arguments in the case are set for late January in Boise.

This article was originally published by the Idaho Statesman. It is used here with permission.