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Feds shovel more money to Idaho to promote Obamacare

Feds shovel more money to Idaho to promote Obamacare

Dustin Hurst
December 17, 2013
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December 17, 2013

Health centers around Idaho will receive an additional $275,000 to promote Obamacare throughout the state, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced.

The new cash pushes Idaho’s total federal aid for pushing the health care law to just more than $1.6 million. In July, the federal agency announced $1.38 million in grants to 11 Gem State health centers to help Idahoans enroll in the controversial program.

In the latest announcement, HHS said it expects health centers in Idaho to sign up more than 13,000 people for Obamacare.

Across the nation, the July grants cost taxpayer $150 million. This latest round of cash payments will cost $58 million.

“This investment means that health centers can provide expanded assistance for people in communities nationwide looking for resources to help them understand their insurance options and enroll in affordable coverage,” HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius said last week in a prepared statement.

Ben Domenech, a health policy expert with the Heartland Institute, told Watchdog.org earlier this year that the grants are nothing but public relations slush funds. “They’re going to use this money to hire Obamacare promoters, who will push people who come through their doors to sign up for taxpayer-subsidized coverage, whether through Medicaid, the CHIP or the (private insurance) exchanges,” he said.

Health care sign-ups, slowed by tech chaos at the federal level, stand at an anemic level in Idaho. According to report released earlier this month by HHS, just 1,730 Idaho residents have selected health plans through the state’s exchange website.

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