Idaho State Capitol building on March 23, 2021. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)
With very little debate, the Idaho House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pass the rewritten 2024 fiscal year Medicaid budget.
The Medicaid budget was one of the major unresolved pieces of the state budget after the Idaho House killed the original Medicaid budget on March 20 after several Republicans complained about the overall funding total of $4.7 billion.
In response, the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee rewrote the Medicaid budget and reduced the total funding to about $4.5 billion in anticipation of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare removing people from the program who are no longer eligible for Medicaid. About 66% of the funding in House Bill 369, the new Medicaid budget, comes from federal funds.
GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX
The Medicaid budget includes funding for five programs, including expanded Medicaid coverage for Idahoans making less than 138% of the federal poverty limit. In 2018, Idaho voters passed a ballot initiative to expand Medicaid coverage to previously uninsured low-income Idahoans.
Rep. Britt Rayould, the Rexburg Republican who sponsored the Medicaid budget, has told legislators that the budget is based on formulas the state is obligated to pay claims under the Medicaid program.
“While I respect this body’s desire to ensure that we pass the most conservative and thoughtful budget possible, I would argue that what has been presented is the most conservative and thoughtful budget that we can provide for this fiscal year,” Raybould told legislators Wednesday.
Rep. Jordan Redman, R- Coeur d’ Alene, thanked JFAC for rewriting the budget and reducing funding. But Redman asked Raybould and JFAC members to make even deeper cuts to reflect removing 13,000 more people from Medicaid.
“This is a historic budget,” Redman told legislators. “It’s still the largest budget this body has ever seen.”
In the end, the Idaho House voted 40-30 to pass the Medicaid budget. The Medicaid budget heads next to the Idaho Senate for consideration. If a majority of members of the Idaho Senate vote to pass the budget, it would go to Gov. Brad Little’s desk for final consideration.
SUPPORT NEWS YOU TRUST.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.