The first meeting of Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s Medicaid expansion working group is underway. The group is charged with providing input to the governor as he weighs whether the state should expand its Medicaid program, as prescribed under President Obama’s health care law.
The biggest news out of today’s meeting so far: an additional 90,000 to 100,000 Idahoans will be eligible to receive Medicaid, if the state expands eligibility to 138 percent of the poverty line. That’s according to preliminary information from Leavitt Partners, the Utah-based consulting group the state has hired to evaluate the Medicaid expansion.
That estimate doesn’t include Idahoans who are currently eligible but not enrolled for Medicaid. Leavitt Partners puts the number of previously eligible (but not enrolled) and newly eligible Idahoans at between 100,000 and 116,000, in total.
Understanding the potential cost of the Medicaid expansion is a key issue for state leaders and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Leavitt Partners’ analysis indicates that most of the newly eligible would be between 25 and 54 years old, and would not have had regular access to healthcare. The costs of covering those people will depend, in part, on how many have serious, chronic conditions.
Leavitt Partners expects to deliver its full report on September 10.