In the world of social programs, Medicaid
is one of the hardest to understand. It’s something of a catch-all program for low-income people, covering broad and divergent needs. Included
are healthy children and adults with eligible dependent children, people with disabilities or special health needs, and the elderly. Eligibility
is income-based and it varies according the category of qualification for the program.
During the state’s 2011 fiscal year, more than three quarters of the funding allocated to the Department of Health and Welfare’s budget
went to Medicaid. The program received about $1.55 billion in federal and state funding, with 74 percent of those dollars coming from the federal government.
Enrollment in Idaho’s Medicaid program
has grown substantially in recent years. The average monthly Medicaid enrollment was fairly stable between 2006 and 2008. It grew by about 3.5 percent. But in the last three years, the program’s enrollment has grown nearly 21 percent. Ballooning from about 185,000 in 2008 to 228,897 in 2012.