Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Otter's dilemma

Gov. Otter has a bit of a dilemma on his hands.  His medicaid expansion work group unanimously recommended that Idaho accept the expanded role of Medicaid that comes with Obamacare.  If he does, lots more Idahoans will have health care, and counties will be freed up from the indigent care expense they've been carping about.

However, in a few years the State will have higher medicare expenses than currently, I think - not sure about the math* - and, of course, Otter will have signed onto the odious and scary "Obamacare." 

He's in a bit of a bind.  Because his panel, and it was all his idea and his appointments, gave a unanimous recommendation, that makes it tough to ignore. I mean, why have the panel at all if you're going to ignore what everyone on the panel says.  Had they split, he'd have more wiggle room.  But they didn't, and he's boxed in. 

Also, implementing Obamacare will piss off his homies in the Republican Gov's conference.  It just goes against their ideological grain, for one thing.  Even worse, it tends to make the hold-outs look even more unreasonable.  After all, if Butch Otter allows Obamacare, then how unreasonable and ideological must Rick Scott and Bobby Jindal be?  To the right of Otter?  That's a lonely place.

All in all, I think he'll follow the panel's recommendation.  For one thing, he was just shocked by how badly he misread the electorate that reeelcted Obama, and rejected the Luna laws.  So he might be proceeding cautiously, being a bit unsure of his read of the voters.  And, he's got the great cover of saying, hey, the independant panel made a unanimous recommendation.

*Math ... So, Obamacare will expand the number of folks eligible for Medicaid, which would indicate more spending.  OTOH, the percent paid by the feds goes up, so actual dollars spent might not increase.  Plus there's the relief from indigent that adds to the plus side of the till.  So I'm not sure that expanding Medicaid eligibility will cost Idaho anything.

1 comment:

Cedar Street Kid said...

Nice post. People need to read all of the facts before jumping to conclusions. Like your blog.