Happy Valentine’s Day! I was thinking, wouldn’t it be great to receive a Valentine gift from our legislators in the form of their taking action to provide health care to over 100,000 Idahoans, eliminate or dramatically reduce escalating catastrophic and indigent care expenses and also open the door to reduced county property taxes? Yup, a great Valentine is sitting on the doorstep of the capitol right now and it is called Medicaid Redesign. We will not see Medicaid Redesign taken up this year, not even for discussion purposes, but there is hope for next year. By then we will have forfeited millions of dollars, estimated at over forty million per year, spent millions more of the state and county budgets on indigent care, and left thousands of individuals and families, many of whom have physical and mental disabilities, without health care coverage. Some say it is out of the question because the federal government will not keep its promise to pay 100% of the cost now, and 90% of it in a few years. Good point but just as accepting the increased Medicaid funding is an “option”, there is also the option of “opting out” if a state so chooses. If the federal government fails to uphold its end of the deal, the state can “opt” out! The reality is that the financial clock is now ticking, and every day Idaho and Idahoans are losing out.
I wish to congratulate Carol Dixon, our Family Support Coordinator for being the first parent in Idaho to achieve National Certification (see below). I also wish to commend Susan Delyea, our Youth Specialist, along with Laura and Amanda Wester, and many other volunteers for causing the first Suicide Awareness Bowl-a-Thon to occur and be such a success! Speaking of success, the February 6th Disability Advocacy Day held at the capitol was certainly another success. Sponsored by the Consortium for Idahoans with Disabilities, the annual event grows every year.
Finally, I remind you all that our legislators are always interested in hearing your story, your personal account of how you are affected by the actions they take or do not take. They want to hear from you, and tomorrow, Friday Feb 14th, there is a JFAC hearing on any concerns with legislative spending. It is a chance to tell your story in 3 minutes to legislators willing to listen. It begins at 8AM at the capitol with sign-up to give testimony sheets available at 7AM.