Right now in Idaho, approximately 78,000 individuals fall into what is known as the coverage gap. These are Idaho workers, veterans, and others who do not have access to affordable healthcare because they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid programs, but not enough to receive tax subsidies to purchase their own insurance. This coverage gap must be closed and that is what the Healthy Idaho Plan wants to do.
The Healthy Idaho Plan was created as a collaborative effort based on recommendations from the Governor’s Health Exchange Working Group. This consisted of a diverse array of individuals and organizations including physicians, legislators, business owners, and non-profit organizations to ensure hardworking Idahoans are able to seek care and receive the necessary services they need in order to stay healthy.
Currently, Idaho is failing to take advantage of federal dollars that could go towards covering healthcare costs, while at the same time continuing to spend millions of dollars in catastrophic and indigent care. In 2015, it is calculated that by not accepting federal dollars, Idaho forfeited $173 million in savings. Just think of the investment we could make in Idaho’s future with that money.
Under the Healthy Idaho Plan, federal dollars would be used to help Idahoans purchase affordable health care coverage in the private insurance market, while others would gain coverage through a new Medicaid plan focused on personal responsibility and accountability. This plan saves taxpayer dollars, eliminates redundant government spending, maintains our autonomy to make healthcare decisions, and addresses our state’s needs.
The American Heart Association supports these efforts to ensure all Idahoans have access to affordable health care. If you are one of the 78,000 without access to affordable care, we want to hear from you. If you are living in the coverage gap, we want you to share your story. You can call 1.844.HELP78K (1.877.435.7785) or visit www.closethegapidaho.org/stories. You can also join Close the Gap Idaho on Facebook, or follow on Twitter, @closethegapID, and help show your support with #78000cantwait and #healthyID.
To learn more, visit www.closethegapidaho.org. Your support of American Heart Association and our coalition partner’s efforts will help us secure affordable, accessible health care for all Idahoans.