Idaho Legislature’s JFAC rewrites failed Medicaid budget
New budget budget committee wrote on Wednesday reduces total funding by $152 million compared to original Medicaid budget
The door to the JFAC committee room at the Idaho State Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2023. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)
The Idaho Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Wednesday morning rewrote the fiscal year 2024 Medicaid budget that the Idaho House of Representatives killed on Monday.
The budget includes funding for five programs, including expanded Medicaid coverage for adults making under 138% of the federal poverty limit, which 60.6% of Idaho voters approved via a 2018 ballot initiative.
The original Medicaid budget failed on a narrow 34-36 vote Monday after several Republican legislators complained about the overall cost of the $4.7 billion budget.
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The new budget JFAC wrote on Wednesday reduces total funding by $152 million compared to the original Medicaid budget, JFAC Co-Chairman C. Scott Grow, R-Eagle, said. The new budget reduces state general funding by about $50.5 million and federal funding by about $100 million in anticipation of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare removing people from the program who are not eligible for Medicaid.
JFAC passed the new Medicaid budget 17-3 after Sen. Carl Bjerke, R-Coeur d’Alene, urged JFAC members to coalesce behind supporting the budget that comes out of the committee.
Rep. Rod Furniss, R-Rigby, said the state will be obligated to pay its Medicaid claims regardless of the budget that the Idaho Legislature ultimately approves. He urged legislators to approve an accurate 2024 budget rather than force the state to come back next year with an unexpected supplemental budget to pay the claims on the back end.
“The original budget that failed in the House, that’s probably pretty close to what actually is going to happen,” Furniss told legislators. “Anything less than that is going to come in as a supplemental.”
“If there is anything that we don’t want, it’s a billion dollar supplemental,” Furniss added.
Republican legislative leaders have been working to wrap up their business for the 2023 legislative session by Friday, but the Idaho Legislature cannot adjourn without setting a balanced budget for the 2024 fiscal year that begins July 1.
The new Medicaid budget will need to pass the Idaho House and Idaho Senate with at least a majority vote and then be signed into law or allowed to become law by Gov. Brad Little. If the Medicaid budget fails to pass any of those steps, it will die and need to be rewritten and start the legislative process over.
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