Idaho GOP has the solution for 2.6 million people caught in the Medicaid Gap: Life Coaches!
The Washington Post features an interesting story by Robert Samuels about Idaho's ongoing failure to come up with a solution to their self-imposed "Medicaid Gap" problem:
Here in Idaho, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, a Republican, vowed to come up with a replacement after declining to fully embrace the Medicaid expansion that was offered as part of the Affordable Care Act. He’s tried to persuade his heavily Republican legislature to set aside their hands-off views about the government on this issue. Studies have been conducted. Proposals have been put forward. But after four years, lawmakers have come up with no alternative.
“While it is clear there is broad agreement on the fact there is a problem, agreement on what to do about it is another story,” Otter wrote in a statement to The Washington Post.
...But the state government, suspicious of Washington intervention, rejected the federally financed expansion. That decision created a gap among the working poor who made too much to be in the traditional Medicaid population and too little to purchase their own health insurance. A state-commissioned report found that as many as 78,000 — nearly 5 percent of Idaho’s population — fell into this uninsured in-between.
“I was thrilled with the Affordable Care Act and thought we’d get out of this mess,” Chelle Gluch said as snow piled up outside their home in the state’s Treasure Valley. “And then Idaho didn’t adopt it. I cried for days. It was our only hope.”
It's a very well-written story and I urge you to read the whole thing, but this part in particular caught my eye:
An independent study found that at least two-thirds of those who couldn’t afford care were working families — foresters and restaurant workers, mechanics and house cleaners. For a family of four, they typically made between $6,000 and $24,000. Some struggle with chronic yet manageable diseases such as asthma and diabetes, the report found, and treatable diseases would kill more than 100 each year.
...Proposals flowed. Some sought to use tax breaks to create health savings accounts. One senator lobbed the idea of offering the working poor tax incentives if they use a life coach to motivate them to get higher-paying jobs. None of the proposals caught on.
Yes, that's right: Life coaches.
Not simply expanding Medicaid, which would be 90% - 100% funded by the federal government. Nope, that would be too socialistic!! Gotta go with...life coaches for the poor.
That's the idea that one Republican Senator came up with as a solution to helping Idaho's working poor population receive healthcare treatment: They'd offer tax credits to people too poor to pay taxes in order to help pay for a life coach they can't pay for anyway in order to "inspire" them to magically get a higher-paying job. What kind of a job? I dunno...perhaps a life coach. I hear they make a pretty good living.
And there'd be a huge demand for them as well, seeing how nation-wide there's around 2.6 million people still caught in the Medicaid Gap. Assuming one per household, that's around 1 milllion life coach openings across 19 states!! Awesome!