The Idaho Budget Index examines appropriation bills on several fronts to add important context to lawmakers’ discussions as they are considered on the floor of the House and Senate. Among the issues we look at in drawing a conclusion about a budget:
Does the agency requesting these funds serve a proper role of government? Has wasteful or duplicative spending been identified within the agency, and if so, has that spending been eliminated or corrected? Does the budget examine existing spending to look for opportunities to contain spending, e.g., through a base reduction? If there is a maintenance budget, is that maintenance budget appropriate? Are the line items appropriate in type and size, and are they absolutely necessary for serving the public? Does the budget contemplate the addition of new employees or programs? Does the appropriation increase dependency on the federal government?
Our analysis is intended to provide lawmakers and their constituents with a frame of reference for conservative budgeting, by summarizing whether appropriation measures contain items that are sincerely objectionable or sincerely supportable.
This appropriation has a line item that is outside the scope of the statutorily-defined duties of the Department of Health and Welfare and outside the proper role of government. The line item is the health care reform line item under health care Policy initiatives. The program was established in 2015 and is responsible for the administration of State Healthcare Innovation Plan.
The state’s office of healthcare policy website defines the objective as follows:
“The SHIP was created to be a comprehensive statewide initiative dedicated to improving the health of all Idahoans by reforming our healthcare delivery system to one which values improved health outcomes through a patient-centered focus. Idaho’s SHIP affects you, your family and community through improved healthcare at affordable costs.
“Private Insurers, Medicaid, and Medicare worked together on designing better healthcare through paying providers for keeping Idahoans healthy. SHIP was designed thanks to a 2013 planning grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) and the hard work of many Idaho Stakeholders.”
SHIP was funded with a federal grant. The funding for this federal grant has ended and now this line item seeks an appropriation of $625,800, of which $486,500 is state funds plus two FTPs.
The health care policy initiatives interposes the state of Idaho into the entire public and private health care system in Idaho. This is simply not an appropriate function of state government and now that the federal grant funding has ended it is time to eliminate funding for this line item.