Spending $30 million on a local government program will usually result in having $30 million less in the state checking account for other needs. Such reality applies to Gov. Butch Otter’s Primary Care Access Program (PCAP), which would provide limited outpatient clinic visits to state citizens currently ineligible for the insurance exchanges.
However, the Healthy Idaho Plan provides a superior option. With money saved from elimination of state and county indigent funds and $590 million in federal taxes returning to Idaho, our state can spend the same $30 million and have a net gain of $25 million to spend on other needs (like infrastructure). We would also provide comprehensive medical care.
Some will argue that closing the Medicaid gap may give eligible Idahoans all-inclusive care and boost state funds, but it would still spend federal tax dollars. While true for the Healthy Idaho Plan, it is also true for PCAP since the community health centers (which will be the primary sites capable of accepting the proposed PMPM payments and sliding scales) are substantially underwritten by federal grant money. Bottom line — both options involve increased federal spending, yet Idaho would be better served by gaining $25 million and more comprehensives services.
Brian Crownover M.D., Treasure Valley Family Medicine, Meridian
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