Expansion provides jobs, saves money
Would you be in favor of creating 16,000 new jobs and producing healthier Idahoans? Such an opportunity is presented to the Idaho Legislature now with the introduction of Rep Tom Loertscher's Medicaid expansion bill in the House on March 14.
Gov. Butch Otter's task force voted 15-0 in favor of this expansion, and here is why:
- It saves Idaho money. The expansion of Medicaid to mostly single adults currently without insurance will cost Idaho taxpayers $284 million over the next 10 years if expansion is rejected. However, the federal government's payment will bring in $290 million to the state over that time.
- Expansion creates 16,000 new jobs and economists estimate Idaho will gain approximately $616 million in sales, property and income taxes.
- When the uninsured get sick and can't pay their emergency medical bills, there is a cost shift to those who can.
- If Idaho doesn't expand Medicaid, we still pay the same federal taxes. These tax dollars will flow to states that have expanded Medicaid.
- Produce healthier Idahoans. Multiple studies demonstrate two things help improve health the most:
- A regular doctor.
- Health insurance.
Ask your legislator to vote in favor of Medicaid expansion.
SCOTT DUNN, M.D., Sandpoint
Lawmakers should approve expansion
Idaho should not delay fully funding Medicaid expansion. Increasing the income limit for Medicaid eligibility will provide affordable, timely access to health care for many Idahoans.
The funding has already been set aside in the federal budget for states to expand Medicaid. By delaying an entire year, Idaho loses available funding for this program. Idahoans will still pay taxes, and Idaho's share of the money will be given to other states. Accepting already allocated funds is common sense. The federal government will cover 100 percent of the funding for the first three years, then 90 percent thereafter.
Accepting already allocated funds is good for the people. Idaho only allows adults who are not disabled or elderly to qualify for Medicaid if they have children and an income less than 20 percent of the poverty level. For a family of four, that income level is close to $4,500 a year. With fully funding Medicaid, many adults will have access to vital health care. The governor's own work group has weighed in and recommends Idaho expand Medicaid eligibility.
Expanding Medicaid will give Idaho healthier citizens and will provide many hard-working Idaho families the needed security of quality health care coverage.
KATHRYN STOCKTON, Eagle
Custodial staff not the place to cut
It appears that despite the passage of the supplemental levy, Mr. Michaelson and the Nampa School District are making plans to eliminate the entire custodial staff and outsource those jobs to a private employer.
This would be a big mistake. There is a reason why no other school district in the Valley has done this, and that's because it just does not work. The district is well aware of this, having outsourced the custodial work in the high schools not too long ago and it was an unmitigated disaster.
Any money the district hopes to save by eliminating the lowest-paid employees in the district will be more than lost when the schools start to deteriorate, when property starts to disappear, and when students start to get sick, resulting in a significant loss in district income. This is what happened last time.
Who is going to pick up the slack of all the other work these employees do, i.e., snow, trash, weeds, fire drills, moving furniture, etc. Make no mistake, once the district makes this decision, there is no going back. These valuable employees will be lost forever. There must be another way to save these dedicated employees.
GREG STEVENS, Nampa
BOGUS BASIN PASS
Buy a pass now. Support Bogus Basin.
Our skiing season may be near the end, and those spring sports like hiking, running, biking certainly are beckoning. But we must support one of the best buys in town to a group that works without a profit to benefit us all. Our gem of a ski area is so convenient and affordable, how spoiled we are! If your pass was used only every other year, it would still be a good buy. How many dinners is $259? I went up a week ago, and "my mountain" was almost private for me. They don't make the weather, just work with it. I have my 2013-14 model, how about you?
JERRY SAYERS, Boise