Gov. Otter Proposes Plan To Cover Idaho's Uninsured

Jan 7, 2016

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced a new proposal Thursday that he says would help low income Idahoans get health care.

The Primary Care Access Program (PCAP) still needs to be approved by the Idaho Legislature. It is designed to help adults 19-64 who don’t have health insurance.

Otter says Idaho doesn’t want to expand Medicaid and PCAP will help the 78,000 people who fall through the cracks of the current system.

The program would pay $32 a month to doctors for each patient. PCAP would develop treatment plans to manage chronic conditions and coordinate care. Patients would also have to pay a fee, based on their income.

The $30 million dollars to pay for the program would come from tobacco tax receipts. Otter says this is an alternative to expanding Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act.

“This is an achievable alternative that gives us total control, with no federal strings or mandates.”

Under ACA, each state has the option to expand their Medicaid program. Otter has opposed such a move for Idaho.

To be eligible, the patient must have an income of around $981 a month. The program would provide basic lab tests, X-rays, pharmacy and limited office-based behavioral health services. Hospital stays, specialty care and trips to the Emergency Department are not covered. The County Indigent and State Catastrophic programs would continue to help pay for services not covered by PCAP.

PCAP would coordinate care of chronic conditions including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, depression and asthma.

Richard Armstrong, director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, said the program was an Idaho solution.

“We all know tragic stories of people who delayed medical care because they could not afford it and suffered heartbreaking consequences. This plan connects our lowest income citizens to coordinated primary care that can help them improve their health and quality of life,” Armstrong said.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

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