Medicaid

Republicans dampened expectations about broadening Medicaid eligibility this year, saying they want to overhaul Idaho's existing system to encourage beneficiaries to take more responsibility.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill told reporters Friday taking more federal money without revamping government-backed health care for the poor and disabled wasn't acceptable.

President Obama's health care overhaul envisioned adding more low-income single people to the entitlement program, but the U.S. Supreme Court left the decision up to states.

emergency room, hospital
Chealion / Flickr Creative Commons

A new study has found that previously uninsured people who were given health coverage through Medicaid used the emergency room 40 percent more than others who weren't able to join the program.

The findings were published Thursday by the journal Science. They suggest that hospitals and health officials around the nation need to be prepared for an increase in emergency room trips as millions of Americans gain insurance this week under the federal health care law, many of them through Medicaid.

Stethescope, Health Care, Doctor, Medical
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.

Idaho and Oregon are among the states that have seen a decrease in the number of uninsured.

Map: Rural Idaho Counties Have Largest Share Of Uninsured People

Aug 29, 2013
Map, insurance
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The number of uninsured Idahoans has dropped to its lowest level since 2007. Data released Thursday from the U.S. Census Bureau shows 18.9 percent of Idahoans under the age of 65 didn't have health insurance in 2011. That marks a decline in the share of uninsured Idahoans since 2010 when the rate was 20.3 percent.

incurable_hippie / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's lawsuit against several major pharmaceutical companies over allegations of inflated drug prices has come to an end with the state recovering more than $28 million in damages.

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

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.

Mitchell Ponting
Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

When the 2013 legislative session wraps up, a big policy question will remain: Will the state make Medicaid available to a greater number of Idaho’s poor? The federal health care law encourages that move. It’s a debate that involves potential costs and savings, along with patient well-being. And it turns quickly to chronic conditions, like mental illness.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Last year, we told you about a group of stakeholders working together to create a state plan to help Alzheimer’s patients and their families.  The Idaho Alzheimer's Planning Group has now released that plan. 

State of Idaho

A Republican lawmaker says he will bring forward a bill to expand Idaho's Medicaid program this week. That's after Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said lawmakers should wait on the issue.

Rep. Tom Loertscher (R-Bone) plans to introduce two bills on Thursday.

One would dissolve Idaho's Catastrophic Health Care Program. That's the program that helps medically indigent Idahoans who don't qualify for state or federal health care aid.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Dental care for low-income adults.  Help for physical and mental disabilities.  Expanding Idaho’s Medicaid.  Those were some of the issues that came up during a public hearing Friday during a joint meeting of the Legislature’s Health and Welfare Committees.   

Whether or not Idaho expands Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act, the state needs to pour more money into the program.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

More than 236,000 Idahoans are currently enrolled in Medicaid.  That’s the federal-state funded health care program for low-income adults and children.  If the state chooses to expand eligibility in Idaho to 138 percent of poverty, 100,000 people could join the rolls.

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter has created two groups to study Idaho’s health care options under the federal Affordable Care Act.

As some Republican governor’s across the U.S. are rejecting key components of President Obama’s health care law, Gov. Otter has said Idaho’s best bet is to carefully examine expanding Medicaid and creating a health insurance exchange.

Idaho Could Save Money By Expanding Medicaid

Jul 13, 2012
Lawerence Denney
Boise State Public Radio

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter

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