Budget committee clears money to ready Medicaid for exchange


Tom Schultz, director of the Idaho Department of Lands, told a legislative interim committee that investments from the endowment lands produced a record return in fiscal year 2014.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee approved $4 million in funding to readyIdaho’s Medicaid system for integration with an online exchange portal.

Most of the money, about $3.6 million in all, comes from a federal match program. The state is asked to pay 10 percent of the costs, or about $400,000 of the initial allocation.

The money approved Monday is a first for the process to ready Medicaid for the exchange, which is an online insurance purchase portal similar to Amazon.com. The Medicaid administration agency, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, says readying the state’s systems for the exchange will take at least $35 million in funding, mostly for technological support upgrades.

The department is being asked to introduce an entirely new function into the Medicaid system. Under the 2010 federal health reforms, states are being mandated to provide Medicaid eligibility evaluation in real time instead of a multi-day method, which has been used in the past. In order to achieve that, DHW needs to overhaul its computer mainframes and integrate with verification outlets, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for citizenship affirmation and the IRS for income confirmation.

The money approved Monday will be spent before the end of the fiscal year on June 30 if it clears the Legislature and is signed by the governor. The rest of the funding will be appropriated for fiscal year 2013.

The funds do nothing to create a state-based or federally run health exchange. While that debate is yet to be had in the Capitol, DHW is simply preparing for the integration.

Lawmakers are working under pressure from the federal government. While the readiness ofIdaho’s Medicaid system is part of the 2010 federal health care law,Idahocould also lose health care funding if the appropriate changes are not enacted.

That could represent a fiscal nightmare for the state if it happens.Idahois spending $436 million on Medicaid this year, a number the federal government matches 3-to-1. The federal government’s share of the Medicaid program is more than $1.2 billion this year.

The Senate and House health and welfare committee chairs support the funding, asking the budget committee to spend the money in Feb. 15 testimony before the panel.

The spending measure now heads to the House floor.

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The whole process could cost $35 million in state and federal funds., The whole process could cost $35 million in state and federal funds.
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5 Comments

  1. dismayed

    Mr Hurst, you talk out both sides of your mouth. You start writing talking all about an exchange’ portal then back track saying it has nothing to do with a state-based or fed run health exchange. You pick and choose the facts you want to support to make the current federal administration look bad. I noticed that you said nothing about the managed care that is coming to Medicaid in Idaho. Your operatives dont dare say the words ‘Managed Care’. Do you have any shame. It is so obvious that your group is getting big big money from the insurance industry and the Republican party leadership and other Republican operatives like the Koch brothers and the many other big business’s oligarchs. You hide behind the skirts of all those who are fake constitutionalist. You are no more non partisan than the right wing chronies that sign your checks. Why dont you do an indepth piece on a compete and thorough accounting of your funding sources revealed. I noticed they aren’t on this website. What does it feel to dance with the devil Mr Hurst? dm

  2. Pingback: BUDGET COMMITTEE CLEARS MONEY TO READY MEDICAID FOR EXCHANGE | Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy

  3. Kapil

    Gordon Fiddes, why would you assume that the state ilalsegture, facing a huge budget shortfall (a problem faced by almost every state in the Union today, thanks to the unbridled greed and fraud running rampant on Wall Street), would wait until April 2011 for the revenue that’s needed now? They made no secret of the fact that they were working on tax policy for 2009. This whole retroactive argument is a red herring, conjured out of nothing, to scare voters into voting against their own interests.OK, let’s suppose that Fred Meyer, Inc. has to pay the $100,000 corporate minimum tax on their sales totalling HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars if they pass the cost onto their shoppers (which I have no doubt they will), it might add up to maybe an extra penny or two tacked onto each $100 I spend there on groceries. If that’s the price I must pay to keep my friend, a single mom, from getting kicked off the Oregon Health Plan, that’s fine by me.Oregon has the THIRD LOWEST corporate tax burden in the country. If your hypothetical C-Corp decides to locate up in Clark County just because they don’t want to pay their fair share in taxes, that’s fine. Not the sort of corporate citizen we should want here anyway. Keep in mind that in Washington they have the hassle of dealing with sales taxes & all that entails.The irreparable harm you think will result from business and the wealthy paying slightly higher taxes pales in comparison to the REAL harm which would result from the defeat of 66 & 67: the downgrading of Oregon’s credit rating; massive tuition hikes for community & state colleges; teachers all over the state losing their jobs; and the loss of over a BILLION dollars in federal matching funds.Mr. Fiddes, I’m not going to convince you to support this modest tax increase on those who can most afford to pay it, but I will work (and volunteer) to make sure that the voters in my community are not fooled by the false arguments made by those who just want the obscenely rich to get richer and screw everybody else.

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  5. Pingback: Obamacare in Idaho | Obamacare-enrollment.com

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