Idaho Health and Welfare Officials Request Budget Increase
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Officials with the Idaho Health and Welfare Department are asking state budget writers for a $26.3 million increase in funding.
The 3.9 percent increase from the 2016 fiscal year budget will not fund the newly proposed health care initiative aimed at providing health care to 78,000 low-income Idahoans who don't qualify for Medicaid. Instead, officials are proposing using cigarette and tobacco taxes to fund the new program.
Agency Director Richard Armstrong told the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee on Monday that the department plans on spending $18 million starting in July and $30 million starting in 2017.
The plan, dubbed the Primary Care Access Program, was first presented by Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter before the legislative session as an alternative to Medicaid expansion. It includes preventative care and basic medications but doesn't cover expensive prescriptions or hospitalization. In total, the department seeks to increase its funding by 6.2 percent in state and federal funds.