- Associated Press - Thursday, March 24, 2016

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The Latest on Medicaid expansion efforts in the final days of the Idaho Legislature (all times local):

7:45 p.m.

House lawmakers will wait to vote on the newly amended Medicaid waiver application proposal until Friday.

Instead, the House approved a separate bill that allocated the $5 million toward a grant for community health clinics to study the estimated 78,000 Idahoans without medical insurance.

House Majority Leader Mike Moyle announced Thursday evening that the body would reconvene at 10 a.m. the following day to wrap up remaining bills before adjourning for the year.

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4:20 p.m.

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter says he supports starting a Medicaid waiver application process currently being considered in the Idaho Legislature.

“The sooner that we can start that, the better prepared we’re going to be,” Otter said.

However, the Times-News (https://bit.ly/1o9IMQr ) reports that Otter declined to comment if he would take executive action if the Medicaid waiver proposal fails in the Statehouse. He says he wants to see what the lawmakers do first.

Otter had originally asked lawmakers in January to create a $30 million health care program that would provide basic health care services, but not hospital visits or prescriptions. The request failed after lawmakers disagreed over the program’s benefits and how it should be funded.

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3:15 p.m.

Senate lawmakers have approved a proposal allowing the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to apply for a Medicaid waiver to provide health insurance for people below 100 percent of the federal poverty line.

The proposal originally only allocated $5 million for community health clinics to studying the estimated 78,000 Idahoans who don’t qualify for medical insurance. However, after passing the House on Wednesday, the Senate completely revamped the bill by Thursday to include a more comprehensive approach to helping the so-called Medicaid gap population.

Sen. Marv Hagedorn, a Republican from Meridian, says the Idaho Legislature cannot wait another year to address the issue.

“We have got to make lemonade out lemons, and this is best lemonade we got,” he said.

The bill now goes back to the House for final approval.

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11:38 a.m.

Five Republican lawmakers say they regret voting on legislation that failed to address the estimated 78,000 Idahoans who don’t qualify for medical insurance, but instead offered minimal support to the so-called gap population.

House Health and Welfare members announced Thursday that they voted in favor of the bills the day before because it was better than doing nothing - those lawmakers were GOP Reps. Kelley Packer, Christy Perry, Carolyn Troy, Merrill Beyeler, and Paul Romrell.

Those two bills passed the House on Wednesday, but faced opposition in the Senate.

A Senate committee spiked the proposal to create a committee to study the gap population. Meanwhile, the full Senate has completely revamped the remaining bill to allow the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to apply for a Medicaid waiver to provide health insurance for people below 100 percent of the federal poverty line.

The Legislature is expected to adjourn Friday.

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