Report: Idaho would save with Medicaid expansion

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Lawmakers considering expanding Medicaid for more low-income people will hear a new report concluding Idaho would see financial benefits that exceed earlier estimates.

House and Senate Health and Welfare committees meet Friday to discuss, though not vote, on a plan to broaden Medicaid coverage, while eliminating Idaho's system for covering indigent people's medical bills.

Despite this new report, however, Republicans exhausted considerable political capital on another provision of President Obama's overhaul by passing a state-based health insurance exchange.

Consequently, GOP appetite to tackle Medicaid is limited.

Additionally, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter opposes expanding Medicaid, at least until he wins reforms to boost patient responsibility.

House Minority Leader John Rusche says Medicaid expansion is arguably more important for Idaho than the exchange issue, but "politics are what's going to block it."