Eye On Boise

Handicapping health care reform

Lawmakers on the health care task force hear presentations Wednesday. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)
Lawmakers on the health care task force hear presentations Wednesday. (Betsy Russell / The Spokesman-Review)

Among the items being discussed in the congressional health care debate, NCSL health policy director Joy Wilson told Idaho lawmakers, is extending the boost to the federal match for Medicaid funding that came with the economic stimulus legislation for an additional six months. That would be a big deal for states that otherwise will need to fund a big jump in Medicaid costs when the stimulus money is gone. Wilson said that issue could be in the health reform bill, or in a separate bill.

Sen. John McGee, R-Caldwell, asked Wilson to "handicap" the chances that a health care reform bill will pass. "I'm covering less than 50-50 now," she responded. "The Senate seems to be pretty split, the Senate Democrats, and so that's a real problem. The surprise is that the speaker doesn't have her votes locked up either. I think I was 60-40 before - I'm not there any more." She added, "I want to believe that before it fails, somebody is going to blink. ... It is a little troubling that they're this close to going to the floor in the House, and they're acknowledging that they're short of sufficient votes."

Rep. Gary Collins, R-Nampa, co-chairman of the Idaho Legislature's health care task force, said, "Just like everything we're hearing, it's all over the board."




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