Feds Turn Down First Of Idaho's Medicaid Restrictions Requests

Aug 29, 2019

Federal officials have rejected Idaho’s request to allow people eligible for Medicaid expansion to instead stay on the state’s health insurance exchange. 

The news came about a month and a half after Idaho officials sent their official request to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

In a letter to Idaho Department of Insurance Director Dean Cameron, the feds rejected the request because it couldn’t prove that it wouldn’t add to the federal deficit.

Gov. Brad Little (R), House Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Oakley) and Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill (R-Rexburg) issued a joint statement, saying those at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services had "pulled the rug out" from underneath them.

"We are disappointed and surprised by the assessment from CMS about our 1332 waiver application after the amount of work and coordination Idaho spent with our federal partners in developing the application," they wrote. They said they would submit further information to try to get the proposal approved.

Allowing those earning between 100% and 133% of the federal poverty level to stay on the exchange was one of several restrictions passed by the Idaho legislature earlier this year.

State health officials recently asked for public comment on their latest waiver request to force those covered under the expansion to work, go to school or volunteer for at least 20 hours each week.

A similar requirement in Arkansas found that it had dropped 18,000 people from coverage, even though nearly everyone either was already employed or would’ve been exempted, according to a Harvard study.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare will take comment on the proposal until Sept. 22 via email: 1115.comments@dhw.idaho.gov.

Comments can also be physically mailed to:

Attention: Cindy Brock 

Medicaid Program Policy Analyst 

Division of Medicaid 

P.O. Box 83720; Boise, Idaho 83720-0009 

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