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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.

Idaho Medicaid, Work Requirements And Why The Legislature Is Still In Boise

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Dome (2)
Frankie Barnhill
Boise State Public Radio
Idaho Statehouse dome.

It’s not over yet. The Idaho Legislature still hasn’t wrapped up for the year.

Thursday, the Idaho House voted to add work requirements back into the Medicaid Expansion bill, which has been worked and re-worked several times. That issue and two bills to make getting a citizen initiative on the ballot harder have slowed the legislature down considerably this year.

Boise State Political Science Professor Gary Moncrief tells our Samantha Wright unlike 2009, there’s no concrete reason for this year’s session to go so long.

Gary and Samantha have a podcast called “Legislative Breakdown.” We pick apart the Idaho Legislature each week to find out how it affects YOU -- and this week we look at Medicaid, Initiatives, and two-headed camels.

Find “Legislative Breakdown” in the NPR One app.

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