Idaho's Republican legislature ended a long and typically insane session this week having done—and not done—two notable things. First, it overthrew a decades-long concealed weapons permit system that no one had argued was broken to allow permitless concealed carry by anyone 21 or older. Bully for them. The truly egregious failure, however, was continuing to allow 78,000 people in the state who fall in the Medicaid gap to stay there.
Oh, there were lots of pats on their own backs by leadership, who congratulated themselves mightily for moving "from an issue that we weren’t talking about and said that we were not going to take up, that we have in a very meaningful way" started talking about it. Because that's as much as you could hope for in the four years since the Supreme Court ruled states had an option in taking the expansion. In another four years, who knows, they might have an actual bill come to the floor only to fail.
But the real jeers in this have to be saved for Gov. Butch Otter, who just can't be convinced that not having health insurance is any kind of big deal.
Otter said he was disappointed they did not go forward on closing that gap. But he said he did not totally agree with the claim some have made that Idahoans are dying because they fall in the gap.
“I see plenty of people that die every day in hospitals and they have insurance,” Otter said. “And they’re in the hospital. But they still die.”
Otter said multiple times that people without insurance have healthcare options such as the Terry Reilly clinics. He said he is not considering calling a special legislative session to address the health coverage gap.
That's the kind of thinking that most Republicans got over voicing out loud years ago.
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