The way Idaho deals with poor people who have major medical expenses is unique to this nation, and not in a good way. It is ineffective, indifferent and expensive. There are much better ways to provide health insurance to poor people. In fact, Idaho’s system is not even health insurance. It’s an archaic form of financial assistance. That money isn’t for health insurance claims. They’re loans, given to poor people that is to be paid back with interest. In fact, recipients must allow the county to put lien on all their property before they qualify.
Ninety-two percent of those cases are people between 21 and 65. Nearly all have jobs. The average cost illustrates the point. Idaho’s way of dealing with healthcare among poor, working adults is to provide a loan when something catastrophic happens. It does not provide any preventative care, which would save lives and money.The poor people who get “medical loans” are required to pay the money back, with interest. But most can’t. Instead, they are given a monthly bill that would take decades upon decades to pay back. These punitive bills put Idaho’s poor even further behind while ignoring chronic health problems. The reimbursement rate from poor Idahoans is low because the people who get “medical loans” have no money. If the Gem State created an actual health system with preventative care, the state would save money.
But most importantly, it would save lives. It’s estimated an actual health insurance program for the poor, which would include preventative care, could save the lives of up to 400 Idahoans annually.
That being said, we don’t care how this broken system gets fixed, we just want it fixed. If it’s not going to be through expanding Medicaid, then let’s see a plan. Show us a plan.
For the raw data, click here.