The Medicaid expansion campaigns in Idaho, Mon- tana, Nebraska and Utah have received substantial funding from The Fairness Project, a Washington, D.C., organization with national reach and strong ties to or- ganized labor. In addition to direct funding, the project is helping coordinate social and conventional media outreach and giving strategic coaching for the on-the- ground campaigns.
The campaigns are citizen-led efforts to bypass legis- latures and go straight to voters, who widely support full Affordable Care Act-scale Medicaid expansions, supporters say. The efforts represent a growing trend by labor organizations and social welfare groups of us- ing the citizens’ initiative process to accomplish policy objectives such as a higher minimum wage, paid leave, and greater access to health care.
Long-term Strategy The Fairness Project says the four- state effort, following its successful push for a voter- approved ballot initiative in Maine last December, is a critical step in expanding Medicaid in other states that haven’t done so, Executive Director Jonathan Schleifer told Bloomberg Law.
‘‘When these ballot initiatives win in November, it will send a strong message that it’s time to move in this fight,’’ Schleifer said. ‘‘The public supports this; it’s not a partisan issue when you ask voters. It will send a very clear message to everyone to come together and expand it everywhere.’’