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BOISE -- Talk of expanding Medicaid in Idaho remains just that, with lawmakers earnestly discussing the issue but unlikely to tackle it during the 2014 Legislature.

Wednesday morning, for instance, the House Health and Welfare Committee listened for two hours to Department of Health and Welfare director Dick Armstrong describe a so-called private option using federal money to buy private insurance for low-income residents up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line.

Armstrong's conclusion: Idaho could save tens of millions and provide coverage for more than 100,000 people from 2016 to 2020.

However, Armstrong isn't expecting legislation this year for such a program, similar to one in place now in Arkansas.

And Gov. C.L. Butch Otter ruled out Medicaid expansion this year in his State of the State speech in January.

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