Medicaid expansion will help Idahoans access healthcare
Despite broad public support, efforts to increase healthcare access to some of our state’s most vulnerable citizens have repeatedly fallen short in the state legislature.
As a result, about 62,000 Idahoans still don’t have access to healthcare because they fall into what’s called the “coverage gap” – they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to afford coverage through Idaho’s health insurance exchange.
This initiative would fix that problem by providing Idahoans with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty line (individuals making less than $17,000 a year or a family of three making less than $29,000 a year) access to health coverage through Medicaid.
The initiative would greatly reduce the number of uninsured people who are forced to get their healthcare in hospital emergency rooms, which is the most expensive way to provide care. Other states that have expanded Medicaid have reduced uncompensated care by 40 percent.
Medicaid expansion results in cost-savings and economic benefits
In addition to providing healthcare to tens of thousands of Idahoans, Medicaid expansion will bring significant economic benefits. A recent report by Milliman Inc. found that, with the elimination of existing state programs for Idahoans who would be covered under Medicaid, taxpayers could save $15.6 million dollars a year. The initiative would also bring nearly $400 million of our federal tax dollars back to Idaho – money that other states have been getting for years. Those funds would help pay for the expansion, create jobs, and boost our economy.
Furthermore, a recent study by University of Idaho Professor and economist Steven Peterson found that Medicaid expansion would create more than 5,000 new jobs in the state of Idaho and generate more than $20 million in new tax revenue annually. This is money that could be used for education, infrastructure, and other important policy priorities.