Judging by what has followed passage of a voter initiative to expand Medicaid in Idaho, some Republican legislators who opposed it are still more than a little miffed at voters.
A legislative committee that should have spent the lawmaking off-season considering ways to fund the state’s share of Medicaid is instead entertaining ideas that would punish voters and the people who will be eligible for Medicaid benefits.
Members of the committee have followed the lead of fellow Republicans who still want to impose so-called work requirements on Medicaid recipients even though the federal government has nearly closed the door on that idea.
The work rules would prioritize paper shuffling over health care delivery and create unnecessary hurdles to care for the state’s sick and elderly.
However, the disgruntled idea factory that seems to value ideology over treating illness grinds on.
One member floated the newest idea for punishment. It would force Idaho’s counties to foot the bill for the 10 percent of new Medicaid costs not covered by the federal government. Expansion will reduce or eliminate costs shouldered by county taxpayers for catastrophic care for impoverished residents.
Idaho’s counties pay out a total of $20 million a year for those costs. The state’s share of expanded Medicaid is estimated to be $41 million annually.
Even Gov. Brad Little called the county-funding idea “dubious” and said the state is able to fund its share.
It’s past time for being sore losers. Idaho legislators instead should do what voters demanded and devise sensible Medicaid funding plans that don’t reek of retribution on voters.