Eye On Boise

Working group: 'An opportunity to shape a new health care system'

Gov. Butch Otter's Medicaid expansion working group debates on Friday (Betsy Russell)
Gov. Butch Otter's Medicaid expansion working group debates on Friday (Betsy Russell)

Here are some of the working group members' comments as they debate options for Medicaid expansion in Idaho:

Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, said, "This would be good for our people in Idaho. But we also ...  don't know what the future's going to hold, and we don't know what the federal government is going to  do with its $16 trillion deficit and the fact that they're going to be putting bigger burdens on the states." She said, "I'm not quite there totally. I know it's good for Idaho, but I'm very concerned about what this burden is going to place upon our people."

Dr. Ted Epperly said he's "strongly in favor" of expanding Medicaid in Idaho. "Really what we have an opportunity to do here is shape a new health care system and a new insurance program. ... I love a benefit redesign that really puts a lot of personal accountability and incentivization onto patients for their health." He added, "I think we need to focus on what we can control, and what we can control is what we do here in Idaho with this program. ... It's a real opportunity for us."

Dan Chadwick of the Idaho Association of Counties said, "The CAT program, the county indigent program, has run its course. It's time for it to end in this state because it has not done its work. It's becoming financially and administratively unsustainable."

Tom Faulkner said Idaho's now paying 100 percent of the costs for health care for the working poor from its state general fund and from county property taxpayers. "If we could have 90 percent to 100 percent of that paid by the federal government, why wouldn't we do it?"

Beth Gray said, "The data that's been presented today seems to me to be overwhelmingly compelling."


 




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Betsy Z. Russell




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