Hearing sign

In two and a quarter hours, more than 30 people have testified at this afternoon's public hearing on a proposed federal waiver to impose work reporting requirements on those who qualify for Idaho's voter-approved Medicaid expansion program. All 34, unanimously, opposed the waiver. 

Some spoke emotionally of their own personal health issues. Others talked of the vulnerable people they work with, and how they'd be affected if the reporting rules cost them their health coverage. Experts pointed to serious technical concerns about how the reporting system would work. Repeatedly, speakers warned that tens of thousands of Idahoans would lose coverage under the rule, endangering their ability to work. 

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Some spoke of their many hours of work on Proposition 2, the successful Medicaid expansion initiative, and their joy when it passed -- followed by their disappointment when state lawmakers attached restrictions, including this one, to the program.

"I just wonder why we are here," said Patti Raino of Boise. "Why do we have to be here once again? It makes me very angry as an Idaho citizen."

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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