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BOISE -- House Minority Leader John Rusche has been promised a hearing on expanding Medicaid eligibility in Idaho, though Gov. C.L. Butch Otter has thrown cold water on the idea going forward this year.

Rusche says House Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Fred Wood, a Republican from Burley, acquiesced to his request for a bill introduction.

Rusche isn't optimistic about his proposal's chances, but he's happy it will at least get an initial vetting.

It mirrors last year's bill from Republican Rep. Tom Loertscher, who pitched the idea of expanding Medicaid as a way for Idaho to eliminate its expensive state- and county-funded indigent health care system.

President Obama envisioned expanding Medicaid eligibility as part of his 2010 health care overhaul, but the U.S. Supreme Court left the decision up to states.

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