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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.

Brad Little, Idaho's GOP Gubernatorial Candidate, Will Support Medicaid Expansion – If It Passes

Darin Oswald
Idaho Statesman

In November, Idaho voters will head to the polls to decide on whether or not Medicaid coverage should be expanded to include some 51,000 people who currently don’t qualify. Despite his party opposing the proposition, Republican gubernatorial candidate Brad Little says he’ll enforce the will of the people.

While speaking to the Idaho Falls City Club this week, Little described the plight of those caught in the so-called “Medicaid Gap” as something he’s passionate about addressing.

Those in the gap make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough for insurance vouchers to buy policies on the state’s exchange.

According to the Idaho Press, Little’s primary concern with expanding the program is uncertainty at the federal level. The constitutional merits of former President Obama’s Affordable Care Act are being challenged by a lawsuit out of Texas. The Trump Administration has also vocally advocated repealing the ACA.

At the luncheon in Idaho Falls, Little did not say how he’ll vote on the ballot initiative this fall to expand coverage. However, he said he would make that public sometime ahead of November 6th – Election Day.

Idaho Democrats and their gubernatorial candidate, Paulette Jordan, are in favor of broadening Medicaid coverage.

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