Medicaid

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Attorney General Office
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Attorney General's office flagged a handful of concerns while vetting a proposal seeking to expand Medicaid coverage through a ballot initiative rather than through the state's Republican-dominated Legislature.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

The company tapped to transport Medicaid patients for non-emergency services in Idaho is ending its $70 million contract with the state, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced Monday.

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

Idaho is joining a handful of states where health advocates are hoping to bypass lawmakers who have refused to expand Medicaid and take the issue directly to voters through a ballot initiative.

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

The latest attempt by Republican senators to repeal the Affordable Care Act is still looking for the 51 votes necessary to pass it this month. Known as the Graham-Cassidy bill, the policy would repeal Medicaid expansion for low-income folks and revoke the premium tax credits that are mainstays of Obamacare.


Idaho Governor's Office

Idaho Governor Butch Otter announced Wednesday he has picked a new head of the state’s Health and Welfare Department.

Otter is appointing Russ Barron to head the agency. Barron is deputy director and a longtime administrator at Health and Welfare.

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

A plan from Congressional Republicans to replace Obamacare could result in a mass exodus from Idaho’s online health insurance exchange.

State officials say almost 60,000 people could leave the exchange under the new proposal. Your Health Idaho director Pat Kelly said Friday that’s because it removes tax credit subsidies and the requirement for individuals to have health insurance.

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.

AP

An Idaho House panel has introduced legislation that would create a new state program designed to provide basic health care to Idaho adults who currently don't have health insurance.

The Spokesman-Review reports that House Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Fred Wood, a Republican from Burley, said Monday that his $10 million proposal would be funded by a state endowment fund.

Wood's plan would only offer primary care services on a first-come, first-served basis.

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.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter’s 11th State of the State address Monday focused on a number of key issues in the state. But one area the governor spent little time discussing was what’s known as the Medicaid gap, which impacts an estimated 78,000 Idahoans.

capitol, statehouse, idaho
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Governor Butch Otter said Monday during his State of the State address that education is his top priority for his fiscal year 2018 budget request.

His speech focused on education, tax relief and Idaho’s economy.

“Our finances are secure. Revenue is exceeding expectations. Economic growth is outpacing the overall growth of government and our own operations are more transparent and efficient than ever,” says Otter.

He is also proposing some tax relief.

AP Photo / Otto Kitsinger

Idaho Governor Butch Otter told lawmakers Monday that education is his top priority for the next budget year.

During his 11th State of the State address, he proposed more money for K-12 teacher salaries and the higher education building fund. And he wants tax cuts for businesses.

But there were a few things that he didn’t have a solution for, including a transportation maintenance shortfall, and the 78,000 Idahoans who don’t have health insurance because they make too much money to get on Medicaid.

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.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

It was a refrain we heard over and over during President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign.

“Unless you get hit by a truck, you’re never going to be able to use it," Trump said at the second presidential debate. "It is a disastrous plan and it has to repealed and replaced.”

The Affordable Care Act is one of the bigger Obama administration policies on Trump's chopping block. In Idaho, this means the Democratic-led push to expand Medicaid to cover 78,000 low-income Idahoans is dead.

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