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Idaho Should Expand Medicaid says Panel

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and the Legislature should broaden Idaho’s Medicaid program to cover more than 100,000 additional low-income residents, but insist on tying the expansion to a benefit program that improves care, boosts personal accountability and reduces costs. That was Friday’s unanimous recommendation from a 15-person panel that’s met since early summer to analyze costs and benefits of expanding Medicaid eligibility to cover people up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line. It’s a key provision of President Barack Obama’s health insurance overhaul, but one that the U.S. Supreme Court left up to states to decide. A Seattle-based actuarial firm told the group before Friday’s vote that Idaho will save $6.5 million through 2024 by expanding Medicaid eligibility — and suffer costs of $284 million by rejecting it.

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