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Idaho Looks at Ideas to Expand Medical Coverage

Idaho officials want to hear public input on a proposal that could help bring health coverage to many state residents that are currently in the so called “coverage gap.”

The coverage gap refers to some 78 thousand state residents who make too much to qualify for Medicaid coverage, but too little to qualify for subsidized care under the state’s insurance exchange.

Under what is being called the “Idaho Health Care Plan”, about 38 thousand, low income, employed residents could receive federal tax credits to help them afford private insurance.

Health and Welfare department spokesman Chris Smith says the idea would be to get federal authorities to grant waivers to the state Department of Health and Welfare and also the Department of Insurance.

“One of the wavers would help a portion of the population qualify for that tax credit. The other waiver that we are taking public comment on, is going to expand the complex medical needs condition of folks who will qualify for Medicaid coverage. So it’s a two pronged approach to deliver a health care system that addresses a portion of the gap population,” Smith said.

The plan would also need approval from the Governor and Idaho legislature.





Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.