Letters to the Editor

Stroh letter: Medicaid

Idaho loses $577 million each year our Legislature refuses Medicaid expansion.

The ACA went into effect Jan. 1, 2014. By refusing Medicaid expansion, Idaho has forfeited $2.3 billion over the last four years – $2.3 billion that would have supported rural hospitals, doctors, nurses and local economies.

Idahoans were entitled (by passage of the ACA) to that $2.3 billion. We paid our federal taxes. Governor Otter and the Idaho Legislature refused the funding. If the state had lost that amount due to theft or mismanagement, our legislators would have raised the roof.

The governor and Legislature seem to be oblivious to the suffering, bankruptcies and deaths of the 78,000 Idahoans that are without health care coverage. Governor Otter’s own study groups recommended Medicaid expansion. However, the Legislature debated the Idaho Health Care Plan that would cost an extra $29 million per year in state taxes, and would at best cover 35,000 uninsured Idahoans, half of what is needed.

The argument that Idaho fears reliance on federal funding makes little sense, given that one-third of present state expenditures are covered by federal dollars.

Why? Why so thoughtless? Why refuse funds that would positively affect many Idahoans?

Chris Stroh, Boise