Idaho’s Health & Welfare Department was planning to cut $2.7 million from its immunization program for low-income children in fiscal year 2010, Health & Welfare Director Dick Armstrong told legislative budget writers this morning, but the federal stimulus will send Idaho $2.9 million for that program, making the cut unnecessary. “This allows us to continue at the same level as we have before,” Armstrong said. “It gives us another year to come up with an elegant solution for this ongoing,” on which he’s starting talks with insurers, he said. Said Armstrong, “It’s good public policy, because we were not really pleased with having to pull back on immunizations in Idaho.” Former Gov. Phil Batt made increasing immunization rates among Idaho children a top priority, a push that continued under Gov. Dirk Kempthorne and significantly raised Idaho’s immunization rates for most age groups.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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