Little Idaho Press Club

Idaho Gov. Brad Little speaks to the Idaho Press Club at Beside Bardenay in Boise, on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little told the Idaho Press Club this morning that he won’t let the Legislature adjourn sine die this year without funding Medicaid expansion, as required by voter-approved Proposition 2. Asked that question, Little had a one-word answer: “No.”

Asked further about various waivers or “sideboards” some lawmakers have been advocating, Little said, “There’s a lot of discussion. … I know that Rep. Vander Woude had 13 items on his list, and I think that list is getting shorter. There’s a big discrepancy between the House ones and the Senate ones; they need to get together. And I’m fairly confident they’re going to get there.”

Little said he’s more concerned about “how expanded Medicaid fits into the whole metrics of how we provide health care. I said it in the State of the State — we’ve got twice as many people who’ve been priced out of healthcare because of the cost, as we do that were left out because of the changes that were put in place when the ACA passed. … We need to have a pathway for people that are 133 or 138 percent of poverty to have the opportunity to move on as they better themselves, so that they don’t artificially keep their income level at 133 percent to qualify for Medicaid. That is a key component of it. That’s not one of the sideboards. That’s one of the things we need to do in health policy.”

Asked if there are some “sideboard” proposals lawmakers are kicking around that he wouldn’t support, Little said, “Yes,” but declined to specify. “There’s some on there that’ll never get through the Senate,” he said. Asked if there are some he’d veto, he said, “It’s too early to tell.”

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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