Synopsis: In 2011, as a symbol of protest to the Affordable Care Act, Republican-run states all over the US refused to expand Medicaid to help the uninsured in their states. In Idaho, that choice left an estimated 62,000 – 100,000 people in the dangerous position of not having any access to health insurance. Deemed “not poor enough” for Medicaid but without the income needed to qualify for ACA subsidies, the unfortunate Idahoans landed in what became known as The Medicaid Gap.
For years, Idaho legislators did nothing to address this issue.
In 2018, Idaho natives Emily Strizich, her husband Garrett and their childhood friend Luke Mayville, set out to change that. With little political experience and few resources beyond a 1977 Dodge RV painted bright green, this trio braved the roads and highways of Idaho, driving from town to town in an effort to collect the signatures they needed to get Prop 2, a Medicare Expansion initiative, on the ballot. They collected thousands of signatures and knocked on as many doors. As they drove around the state, other like-minded Idahoans joined the fight. The result was something no one expected: Medicaid expansion would be put to a vote for the very first time. It was no longer a fight between right and left, instead acceptance of the fact that they all needed to take care of everyone, regardless of their voting party.
In October 2018, our friend healthcare advocate Tim Faust excitedly called to tell us about Reclaim Idaho. A tiny group made up of political outsiders driving from town to town in a 1977 dodge RV, Reclaim Idaho were somehow succeeding in passing Medicaid Expansion in a place where literally every political expert said it couldn’t be done. This campaign, said Tim, was the most important of the 2018 election cycle.
As excited as I was, I had my doubts. Prop 2 was up in the polls, but surely they’re not as far ahead as they say, right? If you believe what the media and political establishment say about red states, there was no way this could pass. Surely we’d get to Idaho and find our subjects getting doors slammed in their faces by angry right wingers.
But that never happened.
Medicaid was popular. People of all political affiliations came out to support healthcare. Looking back, I can’t imagine why I ever thought Reclaim Idaho could lose.
The story of Reclaim Idaho is the story of American politics today. The Experts say we are irreparably divided, full of hate. The Experts say we’ll never agree. The Experts say that life-saving, even planet saving policies are pipe dreams. Silly. Naive. Kids stuff.
The Experts are wrong.
It doesn’t take an expert to fix Democracy. It takes regular people.
Laura Wing-Kamoosi (Director, Writer, Producer) is an Emmy-nominated director and writer. She started her career at ABC News, where she wrote and produced advertising for “Good Morning America”,” Nightline”, and “20/20”. Laura has written, produced and directed advertising, editorial, and branded content for numerous clients including GE, Adobe, CoverGirl, Sephora, Cartier, HGTV, Diageo, The Spruce, and Fresh Direct. Born and raised in Detroit, Laura lives in Brooklyn, NY with creative partner/husband Jim, their daughter Maisie, and dog Toki. Reclaim Idaho is her first feature.
Jim Kamoosi (Director, Director of Photography, Producer) has been working in film, television, and digital media for over 20 years. With a background in communications and design he began his career with ABC News. He has since worked as a studio head, director, cinematographer, editor and post production supervisor, creating branded and editorial content. Clients include Disney, Lifetime, HGTV, GE, Adobe, Cartier, L’Oréal, Procter and Gamble, Diageo, Mondelēz, Sephora, Hershey’s, Fresh Direct, JetBlue, Kiehl’s, and more. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY with his creative partner and wife Laura, their eight year old daughter Maisie, and chihuahua Toki. Reclaim Idaho is his first feature.