Idaho: 35K Medicaid expansion enrollees signed up already, 38% of total eligible
About 35,000 Idaho residents have signed up for Medicaid under expanded coverage in the first few days it has been offered, state officials said Monday.
The Department of Health and Welfare said that's more than a third of the estimated 91,000 people who are eligible. The agency started taking applications Friday, and it is tracking numbers on its website.
That's the good news. Of course, Republican legislators couldn't leave well enough alone:
Voters authorized Medicaid expansion last year with an initiative that passed with 61% of the vote after years of inaction by state lawmakers. But lawmakers earlier this year added restrictions requiring five waivers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
...Most recently, Idaho last month submitted a waiver requiring patients to get referrals from primary physicians before they can get family planning services such as birth control, abortions or pregnancy care.
Idaho submitted a work requirement waiver in September requiring recipients age 19 to 59 to work 20 hours a week to remain eligible for Medicaid. There are exemptions for medical conditions.
I'm not going to delve into why Medicaid work requirements are awful. Besides, they're likely to be ruled illegal anyway.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in August rejected a "choice" waiver request Idaho submitted as incomplete that would allow Idaho residents who qualify for the expansion to choose to stay on the state's health insurance exchange.
I don't know the specifics of Idaho's Medicaid program, but I'm fairly certain that very few people would prefer to stay enrolled in even a highly-subsidized ACA exchange plan versus Medicaid. The main beneficiary of this would be...the state of Idaho, since they'd be off the hook for their 10% of the cost of the Medicaid enrollee.
Anyway, that's still 35,000 more people receiving healthcare coverage for the time being, anyway, so...good.