JFAC has approved a $13 million supplemental appropriation for the Catastrophic Health Care program for the current year, down from the original request of $17.6 million. Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, said that will be enough to bring the total ongoing funding for fiscal year 2012 to $35 million, “which is the amount needed this year.” The supplemental appropriation includes one-time funds of $5.5 million to pay off bills that went unpaid last year and were carried over into this year.
Gov. Butch Otter had recommended the full $17.6 million, but since he made that proposal, counties have agreed to the lower figure, said Wayne Hammon, Otter's budget chief. “It's not going to be a problem - the counties are convinced that this is enough,” he said. The program helps pay for medical care costs for indigent Idahoans; counties pick up the first $11,000 for each case.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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