Gov. Dirk Kempthorne is clearly excited about his Medicaid reform initiative, which he officially unveiled at a press conference in his office today. The plan, which depends on federal authorities issuing an unprecedented blanket waiver or super-waiver of dozens of federal rules, would vastly simplify Medicaid into three systems aimed at the needs of three different populations: Healthy low-income children and adults, the disabled, and the elderly. The hope is to serve those populations’ distinct medical needs better, while at the same time cutting back on the runaway growth in costs that’s threatening to push Idaho’s Medicaid spending past its education spending by 2021.
“I just think it makes sense,” an enthusiastic Kempthorne said after the press conference, “because if you do nothing, we know the outcome.”
One sign of how excited the governor is: This is the first of his press conferences that I can remember that started right on time. Typically, Kempthorne’s press confabs get going about 10 minutes late, sometimes more; though his press secretary, Mike Journee, loyally reports that the conferences start whenever the governor starts speaking, “so they always start on time.”