Idaho Gives Thumbs Up To Medicaid Expansion

Nov 7, 2018

After more than six years of inaction at the state legislature, Idahoans overwhelmingly signed-off on expanding Medicaid coverage to the state’s working poor.

Now, those same lawmakers will decide the nuts and bolts of the program.

Republican governor-elect Brad Little wouldn’t commit to forcing new enrollees to pay premiums or to force them to have a job in order to qualify. But he doesn’t want to make it a lifelong entitlement.

“We’ve got to cover those people in the gap, but we want exit ramps out of it for them,” Little says.

Prior to the election, current Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter came out with a last-minute endorsement of Proposition 2, but Little refused to disclose whether he personally voted for it.

“I’d forgotten about it. The drive from Emmett over here was so long that I’d forgotten about it.”

Maine was the first state to expand Medicaid through a ballot initiative last year, but its governor, Paul LePage, has refused to pay for it. That’s now being fought in court.

Nebraska and Utah appear to have also approved Medicaid expansion measures, while early results show a similar initiative failing in Montana.

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