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Bill cuts Medicaid by $39 million

BOISE – The House Health and Welfare Committee has agreed to consider a bill that would whack $39 million from the state Medicaid budget, set new eligibility rules for clients and impose changes in the way health and treatment services are provided.

The committee unanimously approved a bill Wednesday that will play a key role in balancing the 2012 budget and help the state deal with explosive growth in Medicaid, the state and federal program that pays health care costs for the elderly, low-income families and children with disabilities.

Rep. Janice McGeachin, R-Idaho Falls and chairwoman of the committee, said the legislation is designed to reduce health care costs and ease financial strain Medicaid puts on the state budget. But she also said it intends to reform how services are delivered and suspends or discontinues programs that aren’t supported by positive results and outcomes.

The budget proposal submitted in January by Gov. Butch Otter recommended $25 million in Medicaid cuts. But the bill advanced Wednesday recommends another $14 million in Medicaid cuts.

Savings come from a variety of programs, most targeting services for adults.

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