Idaho Business Group Urges State To Consider Private Insurance Through Medicaid

Nov 19, 2013

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

An Idaho business group urged Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to study how Arkansas won permission from Washington, D.C., to use federal Medicaid funding to help poor people buy private insurance.

The Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry sent Otter a letter Friday, calling Arkansas' program a "market solution" that was of great interest to members that include hospitals St. Luke's Health System and Saint Alphonsus Health System.

Instead of expanding Medicaid eligibility as foreseen by President Obama's insurance overhaul, Arkansas won a waiver to use Medicaid funds to subsidize private insurance for low-income residents.

Idaho legislators have so far balked at expanding Medicaid eligibility.

With its letter, the Idaho business group says it aims to reinvigorate discussions about redesigning Idaho's Medicaid, on concern doing nothing may harm businesses and taxpayers.