Gov. Butch Otter may not be saying much about his two-day, closed-door “Health Care Summit” meeting that he convened this week at Boise State, but he was quite clear going into it that he plans to introduce legislation this year based on recommendations the group develops. Asked about that just after giving the session’s opening remarks, Otter said, “Certainly I committed to them that as they came up with ideas and they came up with programs which are within the political and fiscal feasibilities and realities of the state, that I certainly would become the champion of that. And there are a lot of legislators settin’ in there that heard me say that.”
Otter charged the group to look at affordability, access, prevention and wellness, and medical education in Idaho. “Where do we get the medical professionals that we need, that we’re now short of … and how do we grow into that?” he asked. He urged the group to “seriously consider the possibility of Idaho finally creating our own medical school.” He also told the invited group that health care access and affordability “go hand in hand. Affordability is THE biggest factor limiting access for Idahoans,” the governor said, for both individuals and businesses.
Otter said he’s hoping for proposals he can jump on, possibly even before the Legislature convenes. “What I’m talking about is what can we initiate today,” he said.