Letter: Medicaid expansion

February 23, 2014 

Every Idaho citizen — young, old, rich, poor, Republican, Democrat or Independent — needs to support Medicaid expansion for Idahoans who are falling through the cracks, unable to afford health insurance. The childish refusal by the legislative Republican leadership and our governor to accept the federal $14 million for this purpose is an outrage.

Idaho taxpayers are already paying for indigent medical bills — money that could be redirected.

Funds budgeted by the counties for indigent medical total about $30 million annually. (From our property taxes, folks!) An indigent with catastrophic medical/hospital expenses goes first to his/her county, which pays the first $11,000. The balance is then paid from state general fund monies administered by the Idaho Association of Counties: $38 million annually. (From our sales taxes, state income taxes.) Annual total from Idahoans tax dollars: $68 million.

Our Idaho lawmakers need to accept that federal $14 million now and reverse this backward thinking attitude that federal funds are “evil.”

Do you think our legislators are refusing to drive on federal highways or to cross federally funded bridges? Certainly not. Do they then think our citizens’ health care is less important than maintained highways? Makes you wonder ....


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