An Idaho pro-business lobbying group says a decision by Idaho lawmakers not to expand Medicaid to cover more low-income residents will cost $12.3 million to $18.5 million a year in penalties for large companies that don't insure their employees.
The Idaho Statesman reports that the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry also says it will cost an unspecified amount for businesses whose insurance and taxes subsidize care for the uninsured.
Idaho lawmakers earlier this year approved a state-based health insurance exchange that's part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
But lawmakers balked at whether Idaho should expand Medicaid, a provision in the Affordable Care Act that a U.S. Supreme Court decision made optional.
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter opposes expanding Medicaid, at least until he wins reforms to boost patient responsibility.