Health Care

Taylor Munson / Boise State Public Radio

Residents from around the state gathered outside the offices of both Idaho Senator’s Mike Crapo and Jim Risch Wednesday and Thursday. They demonstrated in opposition to the new Senate healthcare bill, called the American Health Care Act.

 

 

The bill is similar to the one passed by the House last month, with only a few modifications. Protester Laurie Burelle is concerned with the bill’s potential impact on women’s health.

 

AP

Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter has created a new health care panel for Idaho, and appointed the retiring head of the Health and Welfare Department to lead it.

It’s called the Governor’s Health Care Advisory Panel, or HCAP, and Otter created it last week by executive order. The group’s main job will be to review new federal or state health care initiatives and report to the governor and the Idaho Legislature.

The panel will provide research and guidance on health care policies. Members will also fine-tune the state's strategy for health care policy.

Otto Kitsinger / AP

U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador says his answer to a question on health care at a recent town hall in northern Idaho wasn't very elegant.

Labrador has received criticism for his comment Friday that no one has died because they didn't have access to health care — a claim disputed by medical experts because they counter that patients without health coverage often risk waiting until their conditions have advanced too far for effective treatment.

Evan Vucci / AP

President Donald Trump urged Senate Republicans on Sunday to "not let the American people down," as the contentious debate over overhauling the U.S. health care systems shifts to Congress' upper chamber, where a vote is potentially weeks, if not months, away.

Some senators have already voiced displeasure with the health care bill that cleared the House last week, with Republicans providing all the "yes" votes in the 217-213 count. They cited concerns about potential higher costs for older people and those with pre-existing conditions, along with cuts to Medicaid.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

A combative and sometimes angry crowd challenged Republican Rep. Raul Labrador during his town hall Wednesday night.

Labrador answered questions about everything from Planned Parenthood to public lands. At one point, he was asked whether he believes health care is a human right, to which the crowd responded with loud boos.  

“So no I do not believe that health care is a basic right," says Labrador. "When something is a right it’s something that must be provided by the government.”

Otto Kitsinger / Associated Press

As we wrap up the 11th week of the 2017 Idaho Legislative Session, lawmakers have been struggling to finish up their work and go home. For several weeks, the goal has been to end the session Friday. House Speaker Scott Bedke said on Thursday lawmakers will have to come back on Monday.

This week lawmakers struggled with a large transportation funding bill. They tried and failed to pass a bill that would have helped some of the 78,000 people in Idaho who can’t afford health insurance. And tax cuts are still a sticking point.

Kevin Rank / Flickr

Bills were flying fast and furious in and out of the Idaho House and Senate this week, as lawmakers try to meet next Friday’s deadline to wrap up the session and go home.

As week ten of the legislature comes to a close, lawmakers still haven’t solved the Medicaid Gap in Idaho. Those are the people who can’t afford health care but make too much to qualify for Medicaid. Transportation funding and a tax cut are also still in the mix.

Boise State University political science professor Gary Moncrief says there are still around 100 bills to be considered in the House and Senate.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

At least one member of Idaho's legislative delegation in Washington D.C. says he won't be supporting President Donald Trump's American Health Care Act.

Released by Republican lawmakers earlier this week, the new health care act is the much vaunted and long awaited replacement of former President Obama's healthcare law: the Affordable Care Act.

AP

Idaho residents flocked to the Capitol Friday to urge lawmakers to provide health care to the state's neediest citizens, address Idaho's medical transportation system and reform religious exemptions.

The testimony was part of the annual listening session hosted by the House and Senate Health and Welfare Committees.

Kate Haake / AP Images

On Friday, Boise State University released a survey that examined the attitudes of Idahoans on key policy issues. The second-annual survey included views from 1,000 Idahoans.

 

Boise State political science professor Justin Vaughn directed the research team for the survey. Vaughn says they were careful to poll people from different parts of the state, evenly polling both cell and landline phone users.

AP

Monday afternoon, Governor Butch Otter delivers his "State of the State" address, as the 2017 legislature kicks off. Education is expected to be one of his primary topics. Although the so-called health care gap was a hot topic last year, it's not expected to be as big a focus this time around.

Tom Kelly/Flickr

A small group of Idaho lawmakers say the Republican-dominated Legislature must find a way to provide health care to the state's low-income uninsured population in 2017.

However, the legislative panel fell short from backing a specific proposal during its final meeting on Tuesday. Instead, lawmakers agreed on broad recommendations, such as urging a sunset provision if the Idaho Legislature does consider Medicaid expansion and promoting using general funds to help cover any new program costs.

Federal officials say approximately 15,000 Idahoans may be eligible for tax credits if they purchase insurance through the state's health care exchange rather than skip the marketplace again while picking 2017 coverage.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced this week that only residents who bought their 2017 plans on the Your Health Idaho website are qualified for a tax subsidy.

Health officials say the tax credits were designed to make coverage more affordable and protect consumers from the impact of rate increases.

A Nampa nursing home is under fire after a state investigation found residents were being mistreated.

The Idaho Statesman reports that an Idaho Health and Welfare Department report cited Holly Lane Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center for widespread problems that investigators say threatening the health and safety of residents and failed to protect them from abuse and negligence.

Stethescope, Health Care, Doctor, Medical
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho lawmakers are eligible for the same health care benefits as full-time state employees even though they are considered part-time workers.

The Idaho Statesman reports that 90 out of Idaho's 105 lawmakers are enrolled in the state's health care plan. State records show that 30 of the 35 Senate members and 60 of the 70 House members are enrolled.

The 14 percent opt-out rate inside the Legislature is higher than the state's workforce, where just about 8 percent of employees don't take the state-provided benefits.

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