Reclaim Idaho: Feds reject application for restriction designed to steer people to exchange plans. The federal government dealt Idaho’s State Legislature a big blow by rejecting an application for a restriction to Medicaid expansion designed to steer otherwise eligible participants onto expensive exchange-based plans.

Idahoans earning between 100-138% of the federal poverty level (FPL), who qualify for Medicaid expansion, would have been given a “choice” to buy plans on the Idaho exchange with taxpayer-funded tax credits. The restriction was part of a litany of barriers passed by the state legislature in 2019.

“This is what happens when angry legislators try to steer working Idahoans onto plans that offer less comprehensive coverage for higher costs and greater out-of-pocket expenses,” said Rebecca Schroeder, Executive Director of Reclaim Idaho. “This was a bait-and-switch healthcare scheme promoted as a ‘choice’ but geared toward giving Idahoans less healthcare coverage at higher prices to patients and taxpayers.”

This restriction did not garner as much attention during the session as other coverage barriers. However, a non-partisan study conducted by state budget analysts showed the “100-138 FPL” restriction would have cost Idaho taxpayers $42.5 million per year. Some of the exchange plans available to people at this income level would have included deductibles exceeding $7,000. Today’s rejection letter deemed the State’s application “incomplete” and could not “demonstrate deficit neutrality.”

“When you’re talking about working Idahoans, seven-thousand dollars in out-of-pocket expenses may as well be seven-million,” said Luke Mayville, Co-Founder of Reclaim Idaho. “Trying to put working Idahoans on exchange-based plans with less comprehensive coverage at higher prices when they already qualify for Medicaid expansion makes no fiscal sense – and it’s just cruel.”

Joint Democratic Caucus leadership: Idaho’s 1332 waiver has been sent back as incomplete by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The letter noted that “the application does not include information sufficient to determine if the coverage, affordability, comprehensiveness, and deficit neutrality requirements” and  “the application does not provide sufficient information to isolate and evaluate the effect of the waiver.”In short, the restriction on Medicaid cannot be submitted again because there are too many unknowns.

The Joint Democratic Caucus Leadership expressed their appreciation for the rejection of this waiver. 

“Idaho Democratic legislators made it clear time and time again during the session that restrictions on Medicaid Expansion are unnecessary and costly.” Democratic leadership explained. “Republican legislators irresponsibly passed barriers to coverage without knowing how much they would cost or how it would impact coverage. When Idahoans protested, they ignored the voices of the people. Unfortunately, they had to have the federal government tell them that restrictions on Medicaid Expansion are misguided and a reckless waste of taxpayer dollars. 

“Idahoans have asked us to implement Medicaid Expansion as-is but Republican legislators are determined to waste taxpayer dollars on restrictions. It has become increasingly clear that these legislators do not advocate for the people and are only interested in their own power. We hope that voters will remember this negligent behavior toward Medicaid Expansion during the next election.”

Governor Little, legislative leaders issue joint statement on federal decision on Idaho’s 1332 Coverage Choice waiver application: Governor Brad Little, Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill, and House Speaker Scott Bedke issued a joint statement today in response to a decision by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) saying Idaho’s 1332 Coverage Choice waiver application is “incomplete.”

“We are disappointed and surprised by the assessment from CMS about our 1332 waiver application after the amount of work and coordination Idaho spent with our federal partners in developing the application.

“Simply put, CMS pulled the rug out from under us. For months, state agencies worked closely with the federal agencies on the purpose and goals of the waiver application. We shared multiple strategies and considerations about how Idaho would approach the cost neutrality portion of the application. At no time during those conversations did the federal government indicate Idaho’s approach to the budget neutrality guardrail would be insufficient for consideration.

This waiver remains a high priority for Idaho. It is important to give Idahoans the choice to stay on private coverage rather than forcing them to public assistance. The State of Idaho is already taking steps to submit the additional information required by CMS so that our application can be fully considered on its merits.”

Governor appoints two to Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole. Gov. Brad Little has appointed two new members to the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole.

Judge Patricia Young of Boise will fill an opening vacated by Lisa Growette Bostaph. Bostaph resigned from the commission effective Aug. 1. Young is a former Boise County Magistrate Judge. She received her undergraduate degree from Ohio Wesleyan University and law degree from University of Idaho College of Law.

Tony Plott will replace Karen Neill on the Commission. Plott is a former Boise Police Officer. He received his undergraduate degree from Idaho State University.

“The Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole plays a vital role in protecting the safety of Idahoans and rehabilitating offenders,” Governor Little said. “These appointees have long, demonstrated careers in public service, and I have no doubt they will bring the needed temperament and expertise the commission requires to carry out its important mission.”

Elections Equipment Certification Hearing Set for Wednesday, September 4. Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney announced a public demonstration and certification hearing for Hart InterCivic’s Verity Voting 2.3 and Verity Touch Writer Duo. The hearing will take place at the JRW East Conference Room, 7000 W State St. Boise, Idaho, Wednesday September 4, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. The public is invited to observe.

Verity Voting 2.3 system makes modification to Verity Scan, Verity Touch Writer, Verity Controller, Verity Print, Verity Data, Verity Build, Verity Central, and Verity Count. Verity Touch Writer Duo is a new ballot marking device with a printed vote record. Verity Voting 2.3 and Verity Touch Writer Duo have been certified by Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) and evaluated by SLI Compliance. Pursuant to Idaho Code §34-2409, the Idaho Secretary of State must certify voting systems before they can be used in Idaho.

Attendees with disabilities who need a reasonable accommodation to participate can contact the Elections Division at (208) 334-2852. To access the Idaho Relay Service for the deaf and hard of hearing, dial 711.