Panel discussion on delay of Idaho Medicaid expansion set Monday at Statehouse

Though Gov. Butch Otter has put the topic off for a second year, the conversation continues about whether to expand Medicaid to about 100,000 more Idahoans.

The Idaho Jobs Coalition is hosting a forum titled, “The High Cost of Low Wage Jobs,” Monday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Capitol’s Lincoln Auditorium. Panelists will discuss the impact on jobs and wages from delaying expansion. The public is invited to the free event sponsored by Idaho labor groups.

Among the panelists is Alex LaBeau, president of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, which has suggested expansion should be considered after Otter and other policymakers have time to craft reforms to the state-federal program. The federal government promises to pick up 100 percent of expansion costs at first and 90 percent in the long term.

The panel’s moderator is Dr. Louis Schlickman of Idaho Health Care for All. Other panelists are Christine Tiddens of Catholic Charities of Idaho and longtime farmworker advocate Maria Gonzales Mabbutt of Latino Vote.

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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