Hearing Friday

Jim Baugh of DisAbility Rights Idaho testifies against a proposed federal waiver adding work reporting requirements to Medicaid expansion, on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019 in Boise.

At this afternoon’s second public hearing on Idaho’s proposed federal waiver application to add work reporting requirements to Medicaid expansion, the testimony so far has been unanimously in opposition. “Tens of thousands of people will be denied or lose coverage,” said Jim Bratnober. “More people will die unnecessarily. I’m disappointed that we do so many things that are pennywise and pound foolish.”

Frank Monasterio, who works with the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Mountain Home, said, “I visit struggling people in their homes with the society. I have seen Idahoans who cannot work because of an untreated illness or injury. They cannot get proper treatment because they are uninsured.”

Former longtime Custer County Commissioner Lyn Hintze said, “The cost to indigency is one hell of a lot more than providing something to these households so they can have medical care at a reasonable cost. It’ll save Idaho and the counties money.”

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Gail Kirkpatrick of Boise said, “As you all know, a vast majority of the people in the Medicaid gap work, so this is not a work requirement, it is a paperwork requirement. … Idaho’s paperwork requirement will create a second gap of people who lose health coverage due to failure to submit paperwork correctly or in a timely manner. ... You must be healthy in order to work and keep a job,” she said. “I just don’t get it. Idaho as a state claims to stand for less government and saving money. And yet they want to add an expensive reporting system and add bureaucracy.”

Enrique Munoz said, “The vast majority of Latino families in Idaho that we represent are already working.” Yet, he said, under the proposal, they “could lose their coverage due to burdensome monthly reporting requirements. ... This has the families we see every day worried and confused.”

Jim Baugh of Disability Rights Idaho said, “There is abundant evidence that denying health coverage to people significantly decreases their ability to seek, find and retain employment.” He also pointed to numerous issues with the details of the proposal, including the provision that people who are “physically or intellectually unable to work” are exempt from the requirement. “When is a person with a disability unable to work?” he asked. “Many people with health conditions are able to work.” However, he said, they may not be able to consistently maintain employment hours, as required, because of the episodic nature of their ailments.

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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