Bringing the Economy Home

Medicaid Expansion Could Mean Greater Benefit To Idaho Budgets Than First Estimated

Consulting group Milliman this afternoon will tell Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s Medicaid work group that Idaho could save more money than previously estimated by expanding Medicaid eligibility.

The Medicaid expansion is a key component of the federal Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the law’s constitutionality gave states the ability to decide whether to expand eligibility to those who live at or below 138 percent of the poverty line.

According to Milliman’s updated calculation, which takes into consideration new information from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), net savings to Idaho county budgets and the state general fund could total $9.8 million over a decade, rather than the $6 million earlier projected.  

Idaho counties and the state spent more than $55 million in 2012 to cover the cost of medical bills for Idahoans found unable to pay. Most of those who now see their bills paid for by the state’s catastrophic health care (CAT) fund would become Medicaid eligible, were the state to expand its program.

Gov. Otter said in his State of the State address that he would not seek to expand Medicaid benefits during this legislative session. Last week, the House Health and Welfare Committee printed two bills, one that would eliminate the CAT fund, and one that would expand Medicaid eligibility in Idaho.


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