Senate Approves Medicaid Cuts, Bill Heads to Otter


The Idaho Senate passed House Bill 260 on a 27-8 vote today, cutting $34.6 million in state general funds from Medicaid programs, which when added to missing federally matched dollars, will undercut Medicaid by $108 million.

Among other things, the measure will reduce psycho social rehabilitation for adults with mental disabilities and reduce or eliminate dental and chiropractic care for adult clients. Critics argued that the reduced funding will result in the elimination of hundreds of jobs currently held by Medicaid caregivers.

Here’s a sampling of today’s debate:

Republican Sen. John McGee: "Providing jobs is not the goal of the Medicaid program.”

Democratic Sen. Les Bock: “Why do we choose to shoot ourselves in the foot when we don’t have to?”

Republican Sen. Patti Anne Lodge: “We didn’t take a sledgehammer (to Medicaid), we took a little paring knife.”

Democratic Sen. Dan Schmidt: “This is like saving money on your car by not changing your oil.”

Republican Sen. Joyce Broadsword: “Idaho needs to change from offering Cadillac Medicaid benefits to Chevy benefits.”

The measure now heads to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, who is expected to sign the bill into law.