MEDICAID: Expansion imperative

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According to a Coeur díAlene Press article, 25-year-old lung transplant recipient Alex Heisel and her family are trying to raise $500,000 in medical costs not covered by her insurance. The entire medical procedure cost $2 million. If Idaho had accepted Medicaid expansion, Alex may have been covered. Now taxpayers have to pay twice: First, for an expansion Idaho refuses, and second, for the financial loss of the hospital. Any help Alex did receive was from the ACA. She was on her parentsí policy until she was 26 and her lifetime cap wasnít limited to a million dollars. She can also acquire insurance in the future because preexisting conditions currently donít apply.

Idahoís own studies show that Medicaid expansion will save money and save lives. Idaho lawmakers donít seem to care about peopleís lives, even as they enjoy taxpayer-funded premiums and even Medicare themselves. Now lawmakers are even floating the idea of bringing back junk insurance plans, which leave people vulnerable and may even violate the law.

How many people have to die from lack of health care before Idaho puts its political pride away and decides to do whatís right? How do we expect a waiter or waitress to make $3.35 an hour and pay for health care, or even survive cancer or diabetes? If you want to pay low wages, fine. If you want to give our tax money to the rich, so be it. But for Godís sake, letís take care of the sick.

CHAD SOLSVIK

Coeur díAlene

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