House Bill 209 — Medicaid, stabilization fund

House Bill 209 — Medicaid, stabilization fund

by
Parrish Miller
February 23, 2021

Bill Description: House Bill 209 will create a "Medicaid budget stabilization fund" to hold money to fund deficits for Idaho's Medicaid program. 

Rating: -2

Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?

House Bill 213 creates Section 56-268, Idaho Code, to create the Medicaid budget stabilization fund in the state treasury. It goes on to say, "Beginning in fiscal year 2021, all general fund moneys remaining in the cooperative welfare fund from appropriations made to the division of medicaid will be transferred to the medicaid budget stabilization fund at the close of the fiscal year or as soon as practicable thereafter."

These funds are reserved for spending on Medicaid, with the new section saying, "Moneys in the fund are intended only for the purpose of meeting general fund revenue shortfalls or covering unanticipated expenses for services administered by the division of medicaid and may only be expended pursuant to appropriation."

(-1)

Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency or accountability? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency or accountability?

In addition to enlarging government by creating a new fund, House Bill 213 reduces the transparency of the Medicaid funding process by allowing surpluses in the cooperative welfare fund to be held back to fund future deficits in Idaho's Medicaid program. Instead of returning this money to the general fund where it could be used for any purposes — including tax relief — it is segregated to subsidize the state's largest involuntary wealth transfer program. 

Appropriating money for Medicaid requires corresponding reductions in funding for transportation, education, and public safety, but by secluding some of this money in a separate fund, it may appear that the negative impact of increased Medicaid spending is reduced. In truth, this process to not send unspent money to the general fund is a shell game and does not change the fact that Medicaid funding always comes at the expense of other state funding priorities.

(-1)

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