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Lawmakers agree to disagree on Medicaid alternatives

A small group of Idaho lawmakers has agreed they won’t be coming to a consensus on the best way to provide medical care to the estimated 78,000 Idahoans without health coverage after spending months reviewing the issue.

Instead, the 10-member panel will meet once more before the 2017 Idaho Legislature convenes to finalize a list of recommendations to be submitted to lawmakers.

Republican Sen. Marv Hagedorn, co-chair of the interim committee, says he expects addressing the so-called Medicaid gap will be accomplished through a variety of bills next year. The recommendation report will serve as a guideline for any future proposals.

Idaho’s Republican-dominant Legislature has repeatedly refused to expand eligibility for Medicaid, citing that accepting federal dollars comes with too many regulations.

Medicaid is a federal health care program designed to cover the poor.

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