Gov. Butch Otter’s inauguration trip to Washington, D.C., last week included a meeting with other Republican governors and members of the Senate Finance Committee to review state-level concerns about repealing and replacing Obamacare.
The governors collectively expressed concern over what will happen to existing state programs during the expected transition. Among specific issues: whether Medicaid funding to states might be capped or distributed as block grants under a Republican-driven replacement.
Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, has helped 20 million people obtain health coverage since it was passed in 2010. In Idaho, some 109,000 people have obtained coverage and the uninsured rate has fallen by 38 percent since enactment, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The governors “were pretty uniform” in their comments, Otter said Monday.
“No. 1: Be careful. Don’t move so fast that we create more problems than Obamacare created,” he said. “No. 2, when you do (move), give us the flexibility of being able to do some things in Medicaid that we’ve wanted to do in the state for a long time.”
Otter also said governors urged that the federal government permit states to opt into program waivers individual states seek and receive without having to undergo a separate review process.
He also suggested to members of the Finance Committee creating a state Medicaid directors panel that would review and assess rules and regulations put forward by HHS before they are implemented.
“They really liked that,” Otter said.