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Wednesday, October 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

$10 million health-gap bill ‘acknowledges Legislature thinks there’s a problem;’ link to full story

Idaho’s state Capitol dome under a clear, deep-blue sky on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 (Betsy Z. Russell)
Idaho’s state Capitol dome under a clear, deep-blue sky on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 (Betsy Z. Russell)

Here’s a link to my full story at on the introduction of legislation today to launch a new state Health Care Assistance Program, which would tap the state’s Millennium Fund for $10 million next year to provide primary care and limited prescription coverage to some of the Idaho adults who fall into the state’s health coverage gap.

Idaho has an estimated 78,000 residents who make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to qualify for subsidized health coverage through the state’s successful Your Health Idaho insurance exchange. The exchange recently reported record enrollments of nearly 106,000 for the coming year.

The gap comes because Idaho hasn’t expanded Medicaid under the national Affordable Care Act, as most states have done; that allowed those states, including Washington, to cover their gap population largely at federal expense.

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dick Armstrong applauded the introduction of the bill, which he called “not a bad building block.” He said, “It acknowledges the Legislature thinks there’s a problem.”

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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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