Health Care

GOP Idaho governor endorses Medicaid expansion

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Idaho’s Republican Gov. Butch Otter on Tuesday endorsed a ballot initiative that would expand Medicaid eligibility to thousands of people.

“Proposition 2 is an Idaho-grown solution,” Otter said in a newly released ad by Idahoans for Healthcare, a group pushing for Medicaid expansion. “Vote yes on Proposition 2. It’s the right thing for Idaho.”

{mosads}The measure’s supporters say it would provide coverage for up to 62,000 Idahoans who now fall into a coverage gap, making too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to qualify for subsidized health insurance through the state insurance exchange.

If the state were to vote to expand Medicaid coverage next week, the federal government would pay 90 percent of the cost. Idaho is one of 17 states that have yet to expand coverage under ObamaCare using federal money.

Otter is not running for re-election. In a debate Monday night, Lt. Gov Brad Little (R), who is running to replace Otter, said he would implement the measure if voters approve it. 

“I said I would implement it and I will implement it,” Little said. “It is not my first choice. I am concerned about what the costs will be … but we absolutely have to take care of these people in the gap.”

Little’s challenger, Democratic state Rep. Paulette Jordan, said she supports the measure.

It’s not clear if the state’s Republican-dominated legislature would honor the expansion if it passes, or if the Trump administration would approve an expansion plan.


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