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BOISE -- The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says the state is spending $195,000 for two out-of-state consulting firms to examine expanding Medicaid coverage in Idaho for more low-income people under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The Idaho Business Review reports that the state is paying Utah-based Leavitt Partners $100,000 and Seattle-based Milliman $95,000.

Information from the firms is being used by work groups formed by Gov. C.L. Butch Otter to scrutinize whether Idaho should expand Medicaid coverage.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the insurance overhaul, but concluded states like Idaho couldn't be punished for not expanding Medicaid coverage. Consequently, Otter formed the Medicaid panel to look into the best course of action for Idaho.

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