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Politics & Government
Idahoans have some big decisions to make at the polls November 6. For the first time in more than a decade, someone other than C.L. "Butch" Otter will be governor. Boise State Public Radio News will dig deep into these issues with candidate interviews, features and breaking coverage on Election Night.

Governor Butch Otter Gives Thumbs Up To Idaho Medicaid Expansion

AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger
Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter delivers his State of the State address inside the house chambers at the state Capitol building, Monday, Jan. 8, 2018 in Boise, Idaho.

Idaho Governor Butch Otter has endorsed a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid eligibility less than a week before voters head to the polls.

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

His wife, First Lady Lori Otter, also appeared in the ad. "Proposition 2 would help our rural hospitals, boost our economy and create jobs," she says.

The three-term governor is not seeking re-election next month. Two working groups he put together over the past six years both unanimously endorsed expanding Medicaid eligibility to low-income Idahoans, but Otter never expressly pushed for it.

Last year, he threw his weight behind a bill that would’ve expanded Medicaid coverage for residents with serious and expensive medical conditions.

It also would’ve made some individuals eligible for federal health insurance subsidies.

Combined, the move would’ve covered about half of those in the so-called “Medicaid gap” but lawmakers refused to bring it to the House floor.

Republican Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who's running to replace Otter, has sidestepped multiple questions on whether he'd personally vote for Proposition 2. He said he'd respect the will of voters. 

Little's opponent, Democrat Paulette Jordan, has fully embraced Medicaid expansion.

If voters approve Proposition 2, an estimated 91,000 Idahoans would be eligible for coverage.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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