Education and Medicaid on the Block Today

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A hard freeze swept across Boise overnight, foreshadowing what is expected to be a cruel debate swirling around education and Medicaid today.

The Idaho House is gaveling in a bit early this morning in order to take up Senate Bills 1108 and 1110, better known as two of the three bills that Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna has proposed to change the face of education. Luna calls his plan "Students Come First," and today's session comes after a week of student-led sit-ins and walk-outs. SB 1108 guts collective bargaining from teachers. SB 1110 introduces merit pay for thousands of Idaho's educators.

As if that weren't enough drama for one day, a joint session of the House and Senate Health and Welfare committees will take up House Bill 221, better known as Medicaid reform. The measure, co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Janice McGeachin and Republican Senator Patti Anne Lodge, would cut up to $39 million from Medicaid. That, in turn, would eliminate an additional $81 million from matching federal funds. Among other things, the sponsors want to reduce psycho-social rehabilitation services. If you'd like to get a clearer picture of what PSR services provide, you may want to check out BW's visit with Chris, a young adult struggling in Mackay. Today's Medicaid hearing is set for 1:30 p.m.