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BOISE -- The state's welfare agency director says insurance premiums would likely rise if Idaho simultaneously refuses to expand Medicaid coverage and dumps a program that covers medical bills for indigent people.

The Spokesman-Review reports Department of Health and Welfare Director Dick Armstrong was speaking to a 14-member legislative health care task force on Monday amid discussion of whether Idaho should comply with President Obama's health care overhaul.

That's when Armstrong fielded a question about the consequences of rejecting the Medicaid expansion -- and eliminating state-funded indigent medical coverage.

Democratic Sen. Dan Schmidt of Moscow says many people he's met while campaigning have suggested doing just that.

But Armstrong told Schmidt costs would likely simply shift, with insurance premiums rising to reflect medical providers attempting to recoup any new, unpaid bills.

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