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Friday, November 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Otter: No special session; he disagrees with doctor’s testimony that Idahoans will die

In response to questions from reporters about whether he’d consider calling a special session, Gov. Butch Otter said no. “That is not something that I am at this time considering, no,” he said. “I know of no reason at this moment that I’m going to call a special session on the gap population.”

He said, “This is a problem, and it’s a problem we’re going to continue to struggle with, and we’re going to continue to work on. Because those who would suggest that the Republicans in the Legislature don’t care about those 78,000 are dead wrong - we do care. We just are trying to get a solution and not make false promises.”

Asked about testimony to the Legislature this year from a prominent Eastern Idaho doctor that 1,000 Idahoans have died prematurely over the past three years because the state hasn’t expanded Medicaid – and another 300-plus will die in the next year without action – Otter said he disagreed.

“The idea that people are dying because they don’t have health care in Idaho, I don’t totally agree with that,” Otter said. “I think the doctor was off-base. I see plenty of people that die every day in hospitals and they have insurance, and they’re in the hospital, but they still die. If it were easy, I guess we would have accomplished it a long time ago.”

House Speaker Scott Bedke said, “Hyperbole and horror stories, while they’re useful to a point, I think that the House has heard those. And you have a firm commitment from the House of Representatives that we want to do something on this issue.” He said it will be a “dance.” “This is going to take four to tango here,” Bedke said. “It’s going to take the House and the Senate and the governor’s office, and CMS. And we’re going to try to craft something that works.”

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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