A rare meeting of the Senate Finance Committee - the Senate half of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee - was held today to consider introducing legislation from Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, regarding the state’s catastrophic fund. The fund, which picks up costs for medically indigent patients after counties have paid the first $10,000, is running a big budget deficit, and Gov. Butch Otter based his budget for next year on raising the deductible for counties up to $15,000. “However, in looking at it, we know that that shift would cause … property taxes to be raised,” Cameron told the committee, which he chairs. He’s been working for weeks with counties, CAT fund officials, providers and others to develop his proposal, which raises the deductible to $11,000 and also institutes a series of reforms and cost-savings in the catastrophic fund program.
The committee unanimously voted to introduce Cameron’s bill, and members praised his work on the issue. It’ll now go to the Senate Health & Welfare Committee for a full hearing.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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