BOISE -- Governor Otter says he wants to take his time in deciding how he wants to expand medicaid coverage to tens of thousands of low-income Idahoans.
The state does not face an immediate federal deadline on the issue of expanding medicaid.
In his words, the governor says we have time to do this right.
Instead, he's asking the state Health and Welfare director to flesh out a plan for changing Idaho's system based on the potential costs, savings, and economic impact.
Then he hopes to come back next year, the 2014 legislative session, with specific proposals.
Lawmakers I talked to today on both sides of the aisle agree, getting all the information first is the best way to go.
I think it's incumbent upon the legislature to inform themselves on this issue, to have carefully weighed the pros and cons and then to make a decision, said Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke.
The expansion of medicaid makes eminent sense to me as well as clinical sense, said House Minority Leader Democrat John Rusche. I am a physician, and I think that getting appropriate care rather than holding off makes a lot of sense. On the other hand we have to get agreement of legislature to go forward so it may take some time to reach that agreement.
The governor put together a medicaid task force last summer to take a close look at the issue and come up with recommendations.
It did that, but again, the governor believes the state has time to get this right because there's no federal deadline.
The governor is encouraging all Idahoans to get involved in this very important process affecting tens of thousands of Idahoans.