Coyle & Wytychak Elder Law News
March 2019, Volume 2, Issue 15
What is going on?
PARKING UPDATE- There are now tenants in the long- abandoned property to the East of us on Garden, and they have asked us to request that our clients not park in that parking lot. We have plenty of street parking and you can always use our driveway as long as it is not already occupied.
We now accept credit cards through our website, www.CWELP.com! Click on the “Payments” tab on the home page to be directed to the LawPay website.
On Monday, March 18, 2019 there will be an Alzheimer’s Community Forum from 11 am to 1 pm at the Coeur d’ Alene Library. Registration for the forum is requested by calling (800) 272-3900.
On Tuesday, March 19, 2019 the Alzheimer’s Association will host Effective Communication Strategies for Dementia Caregivers at the Post Falls Library from 2 to 4 pm. RSVP to (800) 272-3900.
On Tuesday, April 9, 2019 the Alzheimer’s Association will host 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s from 2 to 4 pm at the Rathdrum Senior Center. RSVP to (800) 272-3900.
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proposition 2- medicaid expansion- what’s next? by kate coyle
Note from the author: This article is meant to be informative rather than political. Please do not take this article as a political endorsement in favor of or opposed to Medicaid expansion.
In the November 2018 election, Idaho voters approved Proposition 2, the expansion of our Medicaid program to include low income working adults by 61% of the vote. What does that mean for you?
Proposition 2 was a voter initiative which approved expanding Medicaid eligibility to those under sixty-five years old whose income is 133 percent of the federal poverty level or below and who are not eligible for other state insurance coverage. Most of the clients we work with in this office are over sixty- five or disabled and unable to work, so in a nutshell, the Medicaid expansion does not affect the work that we do. Nonetheless, I think it is important to explain what the expansion means and its outlook for the future.
For those that the expansion would affect, it would mean access to preventative health care services for about 91,000 low- income Idaho residents according to US News and World Report. The 91,000 who fall into the “Medicaid Gap” were previously ineligible for Medicaid because their income was too high. They are sometimes referred to as the “working poor.” The Idaho Stateman newspaper has reported that Idaho taxpayers would fund 10% of the cost of the expansion, and the federal government would fund 90%.
After the election the Idaho Freedom Foundation, which is opposed to the expansion, filed a complaint that the Medicaid expansion is unconstitutional because it gave too much power to the federal government and to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. The suit went to the Idaho Supreme Court, which did not find the arguments persuasive and upheld the expansion as constitutional. The Court cited other programs that also reference federal law, including the existing (pre-expansion) Medicaid program which uses federal guidelines for its eligibility procedures.
Idaho’s newly elected Governor Brad Little has, according to the Idaho Statesman, vowed to uphold the will of the voters and to support the expansion of Medicaid. But he and state legislators have discussed possible restrictions to the expansion such as work requirements. In February 2019, legislation sponsored by Senator Mary Souza of Coeur d’ Alene was introduced to the Idaho Senate which would nullify the expansion if the federal government changes the percentage it pays for the program. That bill will go to hearing during this legislative session.
Tensions are high on both sides of this issue. We get a lot of questions in this office about how this may affect those currently on Medicaid and those looking to become qualified in the future. As I stated earlier, for the most part, our clients receiving long term care assistance will be unaffected by these changes. The path forward for the 91,000 who fall into the gap remains unclear. This office will follow the expansion closely, and if the situation changes, you will likely see an update in the future. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.