A perhaps surprising announcement from Gov. Butch Otter: At least for now, he’s opposing expansion of Idaho’s Medicaid program largely at federal expense, though a working group he convened to study the issue called for the expansion. “There’s a lot more work to do, and we face no immediate federal deadline,” the governor said. “We have time to do it and to do it right, and there's a broad agreement that the existing Medicaid program is broken. So I’m seeking no expansion of those benefits. Instead, I’m asking Director (Dick) Armstrong (of Health & Welfare) to lead an effort to flesh out a plan for changing Idaho’s system with an eye toward the potential costs, savings and economic impact. I hope to return in 2014 with specific proposals based on that work, and I encourage all Idahoans to get involved with this process.”
Idaho’s current Catastrophic Health Care fund pays for indigents’ catastrophic medical expenses 100 percent with state tax funds and local property tax funds, to the tune of $60 million a year.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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