Lawmakers Stall on Medicaid Alternative, But Talk Expansion
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho's lone alternative to Medicaid expansion isn't dead, but it may be on life support. The estimated $30 million plan — backed by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter — would provide primary and preventative care to 78,000 Idahoans who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but also don't qualify for health insurance subsidies.
However, finding consensus among the Legislature to not only sign off on the plan, but also find the money for it has so far been futile. One of the Legislature's most conservative committees killed the first funding proposal earlier this week with the help of the Democratic members unhappy with the plan's limited services.
Yet, the turmoil over Otter's plan has some lawmakers and stakeholders surprised that the possibility of Medicaid expansion could be in Idaho's future. Toni Lawson with the Idaho Hospital Association says lawmakers are willing to agree that the 78,000 Idahoans caught in the gap need help, and now they're trying to decide on the best approach.