Idaho Health & Welfare Director Dick Armstrong said the governor's working group that he chairs, on the issues surrounding whether or not to expand Medicaid under the national health care reform law, will be reviewing extensive data on where those patients are now getting their health care, and who's paying for it; that information is being gathered now. “The decision is going to be complicated,” he said. The law gives states the option of expanding Medicaid to cover low-income uninsured adults; for the first three years, the federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost, and after that, it would phase down to 90 percent by 2021.
Armstrong also told lawmakers this morning that if Idaho doesn't create a state-run insurance exchange, there will be costs to connect to a federal exchange, and the state could apply for a federal grant to cover those costs. “It only seems reasonable that if the federal government is going to make us make system changes, that they pay for it,” he said.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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