Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Tuesday, February 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 27° Clear

Eye On Boise

Lawmakers push toward adjournment without addressing what guv calls ‘last best hope’ on health care…

While health care advocates rallied at the Capitol today, calling for lawmakers to take back up Gov. Butch Otter’s health coverage gap proposal, which was pulled from the House floor without a vote two weeks ago, lawmakers are showing few signs that they’ll do so; they’re pushing hard to adjourn this year’s legislative session as soon as next week. You can read my full story here at

“I’m not going to make any optimistic statement on this matter,” said House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. “I think the Legislature feels like they have dealt with this matter. Not everyone is happy, obviously, but I think there was general agreement there is not consensus enough to move the issue forward.”

The bill would allow about half of the 78,000 Idahoans who now fall into a coverage gap to qualify for subsidized insurance through the state insurance exchange, while also moving 2,500 to 3,500 of the sickest Idahoans off of exchange plans and into Medicaid, to create the savings to pay for the plan.

Otter said today that he thought the plan, which proposes seeking two waivers from federal authorities, was Idaho’s “last best hope” to address its coverage gap, and said he’s been trying to make that case to lawmakers. But asked if he thought they'd still take up his bill before they adjourn this year’s session, Otter said glumly, “I don’t see it.”

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.

Follow Betsy online: