Skip to main content

Advanced Search

Advanced Search

Current Filters

Filter your query

Publication Types



Newsletter Article


Idaho's Plans to Improve Access in Troubled Times

Idaho Governor C. L. "Butch" Otter (R) discussed difficult choices during our "troubled times" in his January 12 "State of the State" address. He proposed a 7.5 percent budget cut for the state's Department of Health and Welfare, along with even greater cuts in other state agencies. But Otter also discussed plans intended to make quality health care more affordable and accessible for state residents, through low-cost private insurance plans, a health data exchange, and efforts to expand the health care workforce.

Otter announced he is reconvening Idaho's Health Care Summit members to review a Select Committee's recommendations for improving access to health care and to develop an implementation plan. One recommendation that has already been implemented called for private insurers to offer "affordable" individual health plans for residents age 25-40, the largest group of uninsured. Three insurers now offer wellness and preventive care services, premiums of $200 or less per month, deductibles starting at $1,000, and low co-pays. Residents can enroll through a "Healthy Idaho" link on the Idaho Department of Insurance Web site.

The state is increasing its efforts to inform physicians about and encourage participation in the Idaho Health Data Exchange, which is a public-private partnership currently under development. The state has provided start-up funds, and ongoing operations will be funded by participants, which include major insurers, medical centers, and the Department of Health and Welfare. The system will give health providers access to patient records, promising less duplication, greater collaboration, and other quality and efficiency benefits. It will be phased in over five years starting with three hospitals and 100 physician providers.  

Otter also described plans to increase the health care workforce to address the needs of an aging population. The governor is establishing an Idaho Health Professions Education Council that will be comprised of eight representatives from the state's colleges and universities, health care organizations, and members of the public. It will lead and coordinate efforts to expand the health care workforce and report directly to the governor.

For More Information
See: 2009 State of the State/State Budget Message, C. L. "Butch" Otter, Governor of Idaho, January 12, 2009


Publication Details