Idaho Senate panel listens to Medicaid expansion

Posted at 5:28 PM, Feb 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-02 19:28:10-05

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- The Idaho Legislature's first-ever hearing on expanding Medicaid eligibility attracted hundreds of supporters Tuesday, but lawmakers declined to vote on whether to send the measure forward after listening to an hour of testimony.

The Senate Health and Welfare Committee held an information hearing on a proposal that would expand Medicaid eligibility to cover everyone who earns less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

Democratic Sen. Dan Schmidt of Moscow introduced the legislation as a personal bill earlier this session.

However, Chairman Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls, said the panel would not vote on the measure in order to avoid conflicting with Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's alternative proposal that would provide only preventive care to those caught in a gap where they neither qualify for health insurance subsidies or Medicaid.