Less than a week left for Medicaid expansion

By Seth Ogilvie, Idaho Reports

Idaho has five days to submit its plan on Medicaid expansion to the federal government. Monday, February 18th is 90 days after Proposition 2 was certified, and the clock started ticking.

“Work is in progress and continuing,” said Niki Forbing-Orr, Public Information Manager for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. “It may change between now and when it is submitted.”

Looming in the background of this due date is another possible government shutdown and an Idaho bill that would put time restrictions on Medicaid eligibility for people in the gap population as well as an optional training element.

Draft Eligibility_Page_1IDHW doesn’t believe the government shutdown will impact their deadline. “The shutdown does not impact HHS,” said Forbing-Orr. “We will submit prior to the 90 day requirement in Idaho code.”

Adding a training element or a time restriction, however, could be more complicated. Health and Welfare may need to apply for an additional waiver from the federal government. “It would depend on the specific legislation,” said Forbing-Orr.

That could add uncertainty into the system. Over the next week, Idaho will submit a plan to the federal government that, in its current draft, looks like a “clean” Medicaid expansion with no sideboards. That plan will take effect on Jan 1, 2020, if approved by the federal government. That plan would then be the policy “unless the legislature modifies this section of Idaho Code,” said Forbing-Orr.DRAFT_Page_1

The current bill, proposed Sen. Mary Souza, would change Idaho code, but it doesn’t change the deadline, and that bill will likely not be signed by the governor before next Monday.

That could put Health and Welfare in an awkward position. If Souza’s bill, or something like it, passes after the department submits its plan, the department would likely have to ask for a waiver if its current plan is approved. It’s also possible the department will have to resubmit its plan entirely to comply with the new section of Idaho Code.

That theoretically could leave the state of Idaho with an approved Medicaid expansion plan that does not comply with Idaho code, if a federal waiver is not granted for new legislation passed after the department submits a clean program. In other words, it could be a mess.

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