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Eye On Boise

KidsCount says Idaho families face coverage gap without Medicaid expansion

KidsCount, the organization that tracks various measures of children’s well-being, is highlighting a concern about the impact of a failure to expand Medicaid on Idaho families: A coverage gap that would develop when middle-income families qualify for tax credits to help them get insurance coverage in 2014, but low-income families wouldn’t. That’s because the national health-care reform law anticipated that lower-income families would be covered through Medicaid expansion, which the law originally made mandatory for all states; the U.S. Supreme Court overturned that, saying states can decide whether to expand Medicaid or not. The AP reports that 23 states and the District of Columbia have announced they’ll expand Medicaid; 18 have declined and nine are undecided. Idaho is among the undecided, for now.

Idaho KidsCount put together an infographic to demonstrate the gap; you can see a full-sized version here. It shows two fictional Idaho families of four, one with a household income of $31,680, the other, $23,155. The higher-income family would qualify for a $10,206 tax credit toward the $11,209 annual premium to cover both the family’s adults. The lower-income family would get nothing to help with that cost, in the absence of Medicaid expansion, though the kids in both families would be covered.

“Idaho’s families want to have the security of knowing they can get the health care they need without facing devastating medical bills,” said Lauren Necochea, Idaho KidsCount director. “We also want our state to have laws that are fair to everyone and don’t play favorites. Accepting the Medicaid dollars would bring Idaho closer to those goals.” You can see KidsCount’s full statement here.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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