Health and Welfare Grows as Users Decline
by Christian Schwab
As Idaho residents grip with the fact business taxes are down indicating a lack need for our products as other countries deal with an ongoing recession. Idaho’s businesses are known for keeping their employees as long as possible which can be seen throughout 2009. Health and Welfare who already receives 42% of Idaho’s budget is looking to grow as the number of users have decreased by adding a new PCAP (Parent‐Child Assistance Program) division for the failing marketplace. The marketplace is seen by the Governor and Health & Welfare as being successful with lowest cost State exchange in the nation with 85,000 participants and they determined 95% qualified for tax credits last year. The departments recipient funds are used to fund the eligibility aspect of Idaho’s marketplace and to determine the tax credit Idahoans receives to supplement there insurance policies. The Governor’s budget recommendation of $18 million includes $367,000 for modification of the PCAP system including $2.4 million to move programs from one dept to another. The system is estimated to cost around $700,000 ongoing for new full time employees. The department is asking an additional $1.5 million to shuffle through the fed regulations with $2,200,000 ongoing annually.
Health and Welfare serviced 650,000 or one in three individuals in 2015 with one of its biggest services being Snap and Childcare. The ACA is always being discussed and getting substantial funding from both the State and the Fed but in reality 300,000 individuals within the State receive Medicare mostly consisting of Women and Children as seen in Health and Welfare’s own financial reports 67% children 19% disabled.
Idaho spent $1 million dollars in 2015 regulating nutrition behaviors including offering “subsidies” though participation decreasing significantly from 2009. Figures show three quarters of all families on SNAP are classified working class, around 4% are defined “full time” users. 32% of the full time users are working single moms and 21% are single female’s with children.
Idaho’s Childcare Program (ICCP) spent $25 million in 2015 some of which are “incentives” one being asked for in 2016 is to reduce reimbursement cost from individuals who use the service. An example given from health and Welfare to justify their actions included the fact Boise child care cost $850 month while co-pay averages $270 for participants now they are requesting the State set rate to $170 relieving some of the financial burden. Last year the reimbursements came out to over $3 million and saw 30,000 participants in 2015.