The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services just threw Idaho out on its Wranglers because it tried to bootstrap its way out of providing Medicaid to every poor working Idahoan.

CMS rejected Idaho’s application for a waiver that would “allow” some Idahoans who qualify for Medicaid to buy more expensive insurance on the state medical insurance exchange instead. It said the application was incomplete.

CMS found that the waiver would cost the federal government more money than simply providing Medicaid benefits. The federal government called Idaho on its hand in this poker game and found out that it held no winning cards.

It’s not a head-scratcher to figure out that what was missing in this game was plain old horse sense. The waiver, along with another that would put impossible work requirements on the sick and injured, was an attempt by Idaho’s lawmaking sidewinders to make it look like the state is expanding eligibility for Medicaid when it’s not.

Idahoans passed the Medicaid expansion initiative last year with 61 percent of the vote. Gov. Brad Little and the legislators who have been trying to hogtie the expansion initiative are refusing to fold. They say the federal government “pulled the rug out from under us.”

“The Gambler” of country-music fame said, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away and know when to run.”

It’s time for the sidewinders to expand Medicaid with no strings attached and walk away instead of continuing to try to cheat poor working Idahoans out of the good health that’s worth more than gold.

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