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Gov. Little questioned about north Idaho healthcare drain

James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio

Gov. Brad Little says north Idaho needs to restore its women’s healthcare availability as providers are leaving the state in light of the state’s strict abortion laws.

During an AARP townhall event Wednesday Little took a call from Ed in Bonners Ferry.

He told the governor his son and pregnant daughter-in-law are leaving since the closest obstetrics practice is a 90-minute drive south in Coeur d’Alene.

“Boundary and Bonner [counties] are my toughest cases,” Little responded, referring to the area’s healthcare shortage.

Bonner General Health closed its obstetrics practice last year due to the state’s “political climate” hurting recruitment and retention, along with demographic shifts.

Little said it’s critical to restore the area’s practice.

“We need to do all we can to get pediatrics back there, not only for babies but for all of women’s health and I’m committed to doing what I can,” he said.

Little’s staff didn’t immediately respond to questions about possible policy moves he might make to meet that goal.

The governor offered that his signature tuition grant program, Idaho Launch, could help offset workforce shortages for nursing and other healthcare positions.

“The ray of hope is the fact that one out of ten high school seniors wants to get into the healthcare field, and if we can help them and make it to where it’s not too expensive, we can really help with that issue.”

Copyright 2024 Boise State Public Radio

I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.

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