Gov. C. L. "Bitch"

Idaho will not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act at this time. In his state of the state address Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter said that he will not seek an expansion this year. From Otter’s speech:

As you’ll hear in a moment, we have some pretty good ideas about that kind of managed care model. But there’s a lot more work to do, and we face no immediate federal deadline. We have time to do this right, and there is broad agreement that the existing Medicaid program is broken. So I’m seeking no expansion of those benefits.

Instead, I’m asking Director Armstrong to lead an effort to flesh out a plan for changing Idaho’s system with an eye toward the potential costs, savings and economic impact. I hope to return in 2014 with specific proposals based on that work, and I encourage all Idahoans to get involved with this process.

With Otter opposing Medicaid expansion at this moment it effectively guarantees that Idaho will not take part. This move will leave thousands of lower income individuals in the state without access to health insurance coverage.

Otter is now the 10th Republican governor to reject the Medicaid expansion since the Supreme Court made it optional. While there is reason to believe some of these states may eventually come around, it is a process that could take years.

The best way to assure all low income Americans have access to health insurance would be to fully federalize Medicaid. Having state’s involved in the funding of Medicaid has always been a significant design flaw and it is long overdue to get fixed.