Dr. John Livingston | Special to Idaho Freedom Foundation
Dr. Bruce Belzer is correct. We have many under-served patients in Idaho. As a retired surgeon with more than 40 years of practicing medicine and surgery in the military and the Gem State, I too would like to see better, affordable care for the approximately 78,000 people in the so-called “gap population.”
Interestingly, about 54 percent of the gap population are healthy, young adults between 18 and 34. Of those, more than 60 percent live in households with annual incomes greater than $64,000. These Idahoans typically aren’t married, nor are they care givers or have children of their own.
For Idahoans over the age of 35 who fall into the gap, the average annual family income is $44,000. They are more likely to be married and caregivers. Seemingly, this group and ones described above can provide greatly for their own care.
Importantly, of the 78,000 in the gap, it is estimated that 22-26000 have chronic diseases. This is the population truly in need of assistance.
Rather than subsidizing people in households who make more the the mean income for Idahoans, we should identify those most in need and help them.
Finally it should be pointed out that a full-time worker making the minimum wage would not be in the “gap”, but if the same worker were to work part time she would be eligible for the benefit. This is thus disincentivizing productivity.
Let’s take care of those most in need.
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