The Idaho Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill Monday that would begin closing the so-called health care gap.
Senate Bill 1142 would take $10 million from the millennium fund and would be used to provide primary care to the estimated 78,000 Idahoans who can't afford insurance through the Your Health Idaho exchange, but make too much money to qualify for Medicaid coverage.
The idea is that money would come from the state’s share of a multi-billion-dollar class-action tobacco settlement rather than use state taxpayer dollars.
Sen. Marv Hagedorn, of Meridian, told the Senate on Thursday the plan focuses on preventative care and services.
Those who oppose the measure say it doesn't do enough. Sen. Maryanne Jordan, a Democrat from Boise, tells KTVB the measure would only help a small portion of those who fall in the gap.
"Primary care is a wonderful component of health care, but the problem that we have in Idaho is that when people have something else that's discovered, heaven forbid that they find out they have cancer, they fall and break a hip anything like that there's no testing, no diagnostics and there's no coverage for that,” she said.
Jordan argues it would make more financial sense to expand Medicaid and get money from the federal government. She introduced an amendment to the bill that would expand Medicaid to those who are not eligible for coverage under the state pan. That amendment failed in the Senate.