background_fid.jpg
Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Idaho Governor Says He Promised Not To Act Unilaterally On Medicaid Expansion

butch_otter.jpg
Office of the Governor - tinyurl.com/zd9eb84
File photo of Idaho Gov. C.L. ''Butch'' Otter

Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter has scheduled a press conference Monday morning to give his take on the legislative session that just ended. At the top of the list of topics is whether the governor might take executive action to expand Medicaid under a provision of Obamacare.

The legislature ended without agreement on whether this is the best course to provide coverage to more of the uninsured.

On Wednesday, Otter said he would like to do something to provide a solution for people who fall through the gaps on health coverage. But he made a promise.

“I made a guarantee to the leadership of the legislature that I would not act alone,” Otter said. “Unilateral action generally doesn’t work because unless you have got the advocacy there for it, unless you’ve got the support there for it, the champions for doing those sorts of things, you’re probably not going to be successful.”

Some other governors of ‘red’ states have used their executive powers to expand Medicaid eligibility, including in Alaska, Iowa and Nevada.

Republican Speaker of the Idaho House Scott Bedke said on Friday that he’s holding Otter to his promise. Bedke said decisions about the future of health coverage should be made in the legislative arena, not by the executive branch.

Tom Banse covers national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reports from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events are unfolding. Tom's stories can be found online and heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.