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New Bill Would Impose Work Requirements On Idaho Medicaid Recipients

State of Idaho

The effort to stop or slow down Medicaid expansion in Idaho took another step in Boise today [Monday].

The House Health and Welfare Committee voted to print a bill sponsored by Rep. John Vander Woude, (R-Nampa). The measure would impose work requirements on some recipients of Medicaid.

“The idea, I think, of every government program should be that we help people up and out of where they’re at," Vander Woude said.

"So if we can provide training, opportunities to find better jobs or get training to find a better job, and to be working and moving in that direction so that they’re no longer on the program, I think that’s what we need to do. This is to try to make sure that people don’t trapped in Medicaid, but that they are able to move on up and become self sufficient," he said.

There are several provisions that are part of Vander Woude’s bill that appear to be workable from the point of view of Democrats who oppose the work requirement. But it’s the work piece that irks Medicaid expansion supporters.

“I have not received one email from people asking me to put work requirements or limit Medicaid expansion," said Rep. Muffy Davis (D-Blaine). "I have received hundreds from people asking me to implement the will and the way that voters voted for it.”

More than 60% of Idaho voters said yes to a Medicaid expansion proposition in November. Opponents contend many didn’t understand the true costs to the state of Idaho.

The bill is scheduled to get a hearing on Friday before the same committee that, two weeks ago, refused to introduce two bills that would have repealed the Medicaid expansion proposition.