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County commissioner happy to return money to Legislature

Bonneville County Commissioner Roger Christensen is back in town this week after a visit to the Legislature where he did something almost unheard of. Instead of asking legislators for money, Christensen gave them back $29 million dollars from the Catastrophic Health Care Fund.

Christensen is chairman of the board for the fund, which pays the medical bills that people with catastrophic health problems can’t pay after all other resources have been exhausted.

Christensen said one reason fewer people need help from the fund is that more are now covered by insurance.

“The state insurance exchange, which is part of the Affordable Health Care Act, came into place,” Christensen said. “Some states it hasn’t worked as well as others, but in Idaho I think it worked better than they thought it would and been more successful, and that has a direct relationship to the lowering of our costs.”

Not only was Christensen able to return surplus money from the Catastrophic Health Care Fund, he reduced the ongoing budget request for the coming year by $8 million.

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