Republicans block effort to revive Medicaid

Posted at 4:56 PM, Mar 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-14 19:14:25-04

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Senate Democrats made a last-ditch effort Monday to revive two Medicaid expansion bills Monday, but hit a roadblock from the Republican supermajority unwilling to consider the measures in the final weeks of the legislative session.

The proposals are currently stuck in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

Democratic Sen. Dan Schmidt, of Moscow, tried to pull the legislation out of committee and introduce them on the Senate floor, but Republican senators blocked both efforts.

Republican lawmakers have repeatedly rejected considering expanding Medicaid eligibility despite acknowledging that the state's current indigent health care system is broken beyond repair.

Republican Chairman Lee Heider, of Twin Falls, allowed public testimony on Medicaid expansion during a hearing last month, but didn't allow the committee to vote on the measures.

Heider said voting on the measures would conflict with a Medicaid alternative backed by Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter that has since been killed in committee.