Every year, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network holds rallies across the country to give a voice to those impacted by cancer. Idaho’s Cancer Action Day takes place all morning at the statehouse, beginning with a “legislative breakfast” where volunteers can meet with lawmakers.
Luke Cavener is the state director for Idaho’s chapter of the Action Network. He says a key factor in eliminating cancer is through public policy.
"We think there are lots of opportunities to reduce the mortality of cancer in the state of Idaho, so we bring our volunteers from around the state to engage their lawmakers on those issues and educate them on why it should be such a priority," he says.
Cavener says this gathering has been taking place annually for nearly a decade. Although a variety of issues are typically discussed, he says a major talking point this year will be Medicaid expansion, noting the importance of being able to afford health insurance after a cancer diagnosis.
"Our volunteers will be at the Capitol to encourage our state lawmakers to implement the will of the people, a full, unmodified implementation of Medicaid," he says.
Sixty percent of Idahoans voted in favor of Medicaid expansion in November. Governor Brad Little and other lawmakers have said they’re considering adding restrictions to the expansion, such as work requirements. On Tuesday, the Idaho Supreme Court will hear a case challenging the ballot initiative.
For more local news, follow the KBSX newsroom on Twitter @KBSX915
Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio