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It's not yet clear whether Idaho will elect to expand Medicaid eligibility and accept federal funding provided under the health care law.

An Essential Guide To Idaho's Medicaid Program

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This page is no longer being updated. For ongoing coverage of this topic, go to Boise State Public Radio’s website.

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.

With state budget shortfalls and increasing Medicaid enrollment, the Idaho legislature has sought to curb Medicaid spending.  The most recent cut, approved in the 2011 legislative session, totaled nearly $35 million in state spending.  The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has  summarized the specifics of that cut.

Here’s a chart showing Idaho’s Medicaid enrollment over the last six years:

Check out this chart showing how much the federal government and Idaho are spending on Medicaid each year (in Billions of dollars):

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