BOISE -- Annual medical costs for Idaho's indigent population doubled since 2002 to nearly $53 million, including both and state funding.

The chairman of the Catastrophic Health Care Fund, Roger Christensen, told Joint Finance-Appropriations budget writers Thursday the price tag dipped in 2013 due to a temporary federal program, but is expected to resume rising in coming years if nothing is done to contain expenses.

The Spokesman-Review reports mental health costs, in particular, for indigent people are worrisome.

Democrats and some Republicans want to replace the CAT fund by agreeing to President Obama's plan to expand Medicaid eligibility.

So far, Gov. C.L. Butch Otter has rejected that.

He doesn't want to broaden Medicaid eligibility because he believes it's currently an inefficient way to deliver care to poor, disabled and elderly people.

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