Idaho would create a limited $10 million program to provide primary care and partial prescription coverage for adults caught in the state’s health care coverage gap under a measure introduced in the House Monday.
The proposal from Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, would tap the state’s tobacco settlement fund to help uninsured adults at or below the federal poverty level who don’t qualify for Medicaid or for subsidized insurance on the state insurance exchange.
“Because of the finite funds available, this program will only cover a limited subgroup of adults and is not comprehensive care,” Wood told the House Health & Welfare committee, which he chairs.
Money from the Millennium Fund currently pays for health-related programs such as tobacco cessation and prevention. This year’s distributions totaled $9.6 million; another $3 million went undistributed.
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Wood’s plan resembles Gov. Butch Otter’s 2016 proposal for a $30 million state funded primary care plan to the gap population. Wood said eligibility would be determined on a first-come, first-served basis.
He said the proposal would still leave roughly $6.2 million in Millennium Fund earnings to be distributed to other programs next year.
The committee voted unanimously to introduce the bill, which now will come back to the committee for a full hearing.