It’s shameful. Idaho turns hard working people into beggars after they suffer a health crisis. It sounds unbelievable, but it happens every day in the Gem State. Idaho doesn’t provide health insurance to the working poor. Instead, it offers an archaic financial assistance program that loans money to poor people — with interest — who suffer a medical emergency.
By the way, very little of the money gets paid back.
It’s a lousy, terrible, broken system.
I know what you’re thinking: It must have some redeeming quality. Otherwise, lawmakers would have fixed by now, right?
Perhaps the current system is really efficient — WRONG
If you think Idaho’s catastrophic healthcare is efficient, you must also think Donald Trump is humble. Have a look at this Power Point presentation. It’s only a quick guide to the financial assistance program and it contains 286 slides. Go on. Look at it.
Perhaps the current system is cost-effective — WRONG
Idaho’s catastrophic healthcare is as cost effective as ag-gag is constitutional. Last year it cost the state $51 million to pay for the healthcare costs of 4,800 Idahoans. Why is each case so expensive? Because Idaho’s catastrophic healthcare system isn’t a healthcare system. It’s a financial assistance program that only kicks in until after a catastrophic health emergency — hence the word “catastrophic.”
Perhaps the current system saves lives — WRONG
The Otter Administration is better at managing broadband contacts than Idaho’s catastrophic system is at saving lives. A Harvard study last year determined not providing health coverage to poor working adults would result in up to 17,000 preventable deaths each year. In Idaho, that number is about 400, but who’s counting.
Okay, the system sucks. Why haven’t Idaho lawmakers fixed it?
One word: Obamacare. When GOP lawmakers created the state healthcare exchange in 2013, it set in motion a Republican civil war that burst — like an alien from Sigourney Weaver’s chest — into the spotlight between the hard right and moderates during the Idaho GOP’s 2014 State Convention. Since then, Republicans have opposed expanding Medicaid to cover working poor adults. Put plainly, they’ve ignored the body count because they’re terrified of angering the wing of their party that chooses ideology over Idahoans.
If Republican lawmakers don’t want to expand Medicaid, fine. It’s up to them to create a fix.
So let’s see it. Show us a plan.