Bringing the Economy Home


Legislators’ Religions Align Closely With Idahoans, Except For Catholics And Mormons

More than 40 percent of Idaho legislators identify themselves as Protestant.  That’s in-line with religious affiliation for Idaho’s general population, which according to a 2008 survey from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, found 38 percent of Idahoans identify as Protestant.

Data Sources: Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Project Vote Smart, Idaho Legislators

Even though the Pew report is a few years old, a spokesman for the non-partisan research center said the data likely hasn’t changed significantly since 2008. Continue Reading

PhDs, MDs And JDs Among Idaho Lawmakers’ Diverse Educational Backgrounds

The vast majority of Idaho legislators have a college degree. Seventy percent of Idaho’s 2013 Legislature has a bachelor’s degree or higher. U.S. Census data show 24 percent of Idaho’s general population has a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Data Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Project Vote Smart, Idaho Legislators

Over the last month, StateImpact Idaho collected basic demographic information on Idaho’s incoming Legislature. We’ve looked at lawmakers’ ages compared with the population they represent, their occupations, and the male-female split. We want to better understand the make-up of Idaho’s Legislature and how it compares with the general population. Continue Reading

Will You Be Eligible For A Tax Credit Under The Affordable Care Act?

We published a post last week about the effects of the Affordable Care Act on Idaho’s uninsured. In it, we mentioned that federal tax credits will be available to people purchasing insurance through health insurance exchanges, if their incomes are less than four times the federal poverty level.  For a family of four, 400 percent of the 2012 federal poverty level is $92,200.

After that post went up, we got a tweet from a reader asking about the subsidy thresholds for other family sizes.  Here you go:

[spreadsheet key=”0AtNHLtezDs_XdDMxUklsYlJwNTByaGhjMGZJRDlGN1E” source=”” sheet=0 filter=0 paginate=0 sortable=0]

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2012 Poverty Guidelines

Idaho Group To Study State-Run Health Insurance Exchange Spends $166,000

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact

Gov. Otter has until Dec. 14 to decide if Idaho will create it's own health insurance exchange.

Back in July, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter put together a group of insurance industry stakeholders, business owners and lawmakers to figure out if Idaho should create its own health insurance exchange or let the federal government take the lead.

The work group has since recommended Idaho create its own state-based exchange. It spent at least $166,368 to come to that conclusion.

Invoices to the Idaho Department of Insurance that StateImpact obtained through Idaho’s public information law show the greatest cost to the state was through hiring consultants and experts. Continue Reading

Teachers At Low-Income Schools May Fare Worse As Idaho Distributes Bonus Pay

Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Boise's Frank Church High School is one of seven in the district that will not receive merit pay.

The Idaho Department of Education this week released the final list of schools that will receive performance bonuses under the merit pay system rejected by voters on Election Day.

Now, that list is itself producing consternation.  As The Spokesman-Review’s Scott Maben writes of the bonuses that will be distributed in the Coeur d’Alene School District:

Teachers will receive bonuses of up to $4,142 in the coming weeks, though some who teach at underperforming schools will receive nothing, even if they’re among the best educators in a school district. — The Spokesman-Review

Critics of the three defeated education laws known as Students Come First have been quick to make this observation: that the bonuses appear to reward well-off schools.  Continue Reading

Map And Tables: See Who Is Spending For And Against Idaho’s Props 1, 2, 3

The campaigns for and against Idaho's Propositions 1, 2, 3 have brought in a lot of money. When you add it all up, the two sides have received donations totaling $4.88 million. It's all focused on a months-long tug-of-war over whether the package of controversial education laws known as Students Come First will be upheld or repealed on November 6. Continue reading

Idaho Racks Up $15,000 Bill On Health Insurance Exchange Work Group, So Far

Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Idaho Department of Insurance Director Bill Deal.

The panel created to look at the feasibility of Idaho creating a health insurance exchange has met four times since August, spending more than $15,000 on supplies and consultants.

Information obtained through Idaho’s public records law, shows Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s health insurance exchange work group has spent the majority of that money on an independent contractor.

Valerie Fend-Boehm has invoiced the state for $12,686.25 as of October 15, 2012, and that doesn’t include her contract work for the first half of this month.  Fend-Boehm contracted with Idaho’s Department of Insurance for $85 an hour. Continue Reading

As Idaho’s Doctor Workforce Ages, Who Is Stepping Up To Replace Them?

Many states don’t have enough doctors.  As we’ve been reporting, Idaho has fewer physicians per capita than every state in the nation except Mississippi.

And the shortage of doctors will likely get worse before it gets better, as physicians from the baby boom generation get ready to retire.  At least one-third of all doctors in each of the 50 states are 55 or older.  In Idaho, nearly 42 percent of physicians are over the age of 55.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact Idaho

Click on the image to enlarge. Data source: American Medical Association's 2012 publication 'Physician Characteristics and Distribution in the U.S.'

University of Washington researcher Susan Skillman says the aging workforce means retirement will soon take its toll.  “We have great concern about whether the number of providers we have now can be replaced,” Skillman says, “let alone meet this growing demand” for health care services. Continue Reading

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