We're on track to advance all of the recommendations from our historic three-branch Behavioral Health Council, and this year my IDAHO FIRST plan does even more to improve resources for troubled youth in mental health crises.
We are also going to make behavioral health services more accessible for the neediest of our neighbors and add more doctors for rural Idaho and more healthcare workers overall.
Source: 2023 State of the State Address to the Idaho legislature
, Jan 9, 2023
$50 million to improve behavioral healthcare across Idaho
Protecting Idahoans of all ages from the afflictions of mental illness and addiction led to the creation of the three-branch Behavioral Health Council in 2020. Behavioral health issues affect Idaho's corrections system, judicial system, hospitals,
local communities, and schools. Today, I am proposing we accelerate the implementation of the Behavioral Health Council's recommendations by investing $50 million to improve behavioral healthcare across Idaho.
Source: 2022 State of the State Address to the Idaho legislature
, Jan 10, 2022
Expanded telehealth access, let's make changes permanent
We lifted regulations to expand telehealth access. It worked. The use of telehealth rose by 4,000%, and Idahoans in all parts of the state could continue to access care from the safety of their homes.
The pandemic opened the door to great advances in telehealth access. Let's work together to make those red tape cuts permanent!
Source: 2021 State of the State Address to the Idaho legislature
, Jan 11, 2021
First state to introduce "enhanced short-term plans"
We began implementing Medicaid Expansion. My budget implements a full year of Medicaid Expansion with a net-zero impact on the General Fund. Starting this year, Idaho became the first state in the nation to make "enhanced short-term plans"
available, offering more options to individuals and families priced out of the market by ObamaCare. Two insurance carriers have signed up to offer the plans, creating competition and coverage to help drive down the cost of health care for Idaho families.
Source: 2020 Idaho State of the State address
, Jan 6, 2020
Honor the will of the people & implement Medicaid expansion
On election day over 60% of voters approved Medicaid expansion. For months I made it clear I would honor the will of the people. I intend to work with you to implement Medicaid expansion using an Idaho approach. We need spring in our safety net so that
there are multiple pathways for the gap population to move off Medicaid and onto private coverage.
While making health care available to low-income individuals we should also do what we can to make affordable, accessible, quality health care available
to all Idahoans.
An unintended outcome of the Affordable Care Act is that too many people are priced out of health insurance coverage. In the past two years, the number of uninsured Idahoans increased by 125,000--almost double the gap population.
As Idaho continues to enjoy the fastest-growing economy in the nation, the number of insured Idahoans should be increasing not decreasing.
Gov. Butch Otter announced that he is backing Proposition 2, the ballot initiative that would expand Medicaid to the thousands of people who currently fall into the state's healthcare gap--making too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but too little
to qualify for insurance subsidies.
"We cannot continue to let hardworking Idahoans go without healthcare," said Governor Otter. "Proposition 2 will provide healthcare to 62,000 Idahoans and it'll bring $400 million of our tax dollars back to Idaho.
In addition, Proposition 2 will keep our rural hospitals and county clinics open." Prop 2 will appear on ballots across the state Nov. 6.
Medicaid expansion was a topic during this week's gubernatorial debate. Democratic challenger Paulette Jordan
said she is a supporter of Prop 2. Her opponent, Lt. Gov. Brad Little has declined to say whether he will vote for the initiative but said if elected governor, he would respect the will of the voters if they pass Medicaid expansion.
ObamaCare regulations have made Idahoans' healthcare costs soar beyond all reason.
Idahoans need more control over our healthcare along with fewer federal mandates, and I will pledge to every Idahoan that I will fight to control and lower healthcare costs in Idaho.