Idaho Senator Relinquishes Own Health Insurance In Protest Over Medicaid Gap 

click to enlarge Sen. Dan Schmidt (D-Boise) - IDAHO LEGISLATURE
  • Idaho Legislature
  • Sen. Dan Schmidt (D-Boise)

Sen. Dan Schmidt (D-Moscow) shamed his fellow lawmakers Thursday for not even considering an option to address the nearly 78,000 Idahoans who are victims of the so-called Medicaid gap. As a result, Schmidt—a family physician—notified his Senate colleagues that he would relinquish the health insurance benefits afforded to him and every other part-time lawmaker in the Idaho Legislature.

"I have worked hard for over three years to close the health coverage gap in this state," Schmidt wrote to Senate Pro Tempore Brent Hill (R-Rexburg). "My state-funded health insurance is quite expensive for the taxpayer, yet the coverage for the gap population would require no tax increase—indeed, even reduce some costs to the taxpayer. But I receive this benefit, and they don’t. It’s not fair, and my wife and I agree we should not participate in this unfairness."

Schmidt, who said he and his wife have no other health coverage, failed in his attempts to introduce legislation earlier this session to address the Medicaid gap. He said he was even willing to support the so-called "Healthy Idaho" plan crafted by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's task force to provide some assistance to the tens of thousands of Idahoans who are not eligible for either the state-run health insurance exchange nor Medicaid support.

"I am disappointed that a solution to this problem did not successfully go through the Legislature this session," said Schmidt. "Such inaction is a burden to us all."
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