Idaho has skipped “hundreds of millions” in federal health care funding that the state’s taxpayers were due, because the state hasn’t expanded its Medicaid program, Idaho Statesman reporter Bill Dentzer reports; his full story is online here. Members of Gov. Butch Otter’s Medicaid redesign working group told the House Health & Welfare Committee that expanding Medicaid now via an alternative funding plan they developed that gives the state more control over how funds are spent would save Idaho $173 million over the next 10 years.
“We believe we have come out with a homegrown Idaho solution that is trying to optimize local tax dollars for local use,” Richard Armstrong, director of the state Health Welfare Department and chair of the working group, told the committee, Dentzer reports. The plan, he said, takes into account opposing concerns over making recipients accountable and includes an opt-out option if the federal funding ends. It “truly does incorporate unprecedented concessions from the federal government,” Armstrong said. “This is a moment we’ve not seen before.” The Senate Health & Welfare Committee has a similar briefing set for this afternoon.