Friday, January 31, 2014

Stop dithering, expand Medicaid


     Idaho should quit dithering on expanding Medicaid and follow the lead of its conservative southern neighbor that likely will be the next state to close a gap that’s keeping desperately poor people with serious health issues from getting medical help.

     Last week, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, announced that his state would expand Medicaid to cover an estimated 111,000 poor adults. If the Legislature concurs, and it’s expected it will, Utah will become the 26th state to sign on to the expansion, a key part of the Affordable Care Act that created a broad health insurance system for all Americans.

     However, as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision, Medicaid expansion is optional for the states. Idaho was one of the states that opposed the ACA.

     Under Gov. Butch Otter’s leadership, Idaho still opposes expansion. Failure to expand Medicaid will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars because the state will not be reimbursed 100 percent by the federal government for health costs for the poor for three years and at 90 percent thereafter.

     Today, local taxpayers pick up the tab for those who can’t qualify for Medicaid through county indigent funds. Medicaid expansion could mean more than $600 million in savings for Idaho over 10 years and $478 million for property-tax payers, according to a University of Idaho study. Even the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, which knows a good deal when it sees it, has endorsed expansion. Yet, Otter is choosing ideology over practicality because of fear that the federal government won’t keep the funding deal and because the ACA is politically unpopular. If the fear is realized, bigger states will be left holding the bag and will bring heavy pressure to keep funding in place.

     Idaho should put ideology aside, save its taxpayers money and make health care available for the poor.




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.