Knowing that Medicaid expansion is not an option, Department of Health and Welfare Director Dick Armstrong hopes to get traction for an alternative. That alternative would provide health coverage to an estimated 78,000 Idahoans who presently don’t have insurance and don’t qualify for Medicaid or Obamacare tax credits.
Legislative Democrats have already signaled that they won’t buy in. They’re fixated on advancing Obamacare via Medicaid expansion. That means conservatives in the Legislature hold the key to passage of Armstrong’s alternative. Ultimately, conservatives want to embrace a patient-focused, free market approach to health care. We can have one, and it would work as follows.
A patient who needs health care coverage would approach a local community organization for help. That organization raises the money to provide health coverage via an assortment of programs tailored to meet that patient’s needs. That might include membership in a Direct Primary Care, funds for visits to a community care clinic, money for prescription drugs, and the like. The money raised would be matched, at some level, by state funds. It would be the organization’s responsibility to decide what service is offered and how.
Conservatives should like this approach. It contains free market elements that connect patients to services and organizations in a community. It keeps government involvement at a minimum.
Conservatives would support legislation to do this if it commits to these design elements:
A patient-centered, community-driven health care plan would help serve as a foundation to lift people from poverty, so they don’t need ongoing government assistance. Most importantly, such a program would not depend on federal government funding, nor would federal or state public servants be involved in the decisions that are best left to patients and their health care providers.