Idaho governor proposing health care changes - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Idaho governor proposing health care changes

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COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -

Idaho Governor C.L."Butch" Otter is proposing a new health care plan. It's a $30 million program to help the middle class get health care, but not everyone thinks this plan is realistic. It doesn't cover Emergency Room visits or prescription drugs.

Bailee Hogan says she works hard for her money as a barista.  She doesn't qualify for Medicaid, and can't get subsidized health insurance.

"For lower middle class families who fall into that income range, one of their biggest expenses is their health insurance," Hogan said.

Nearby in downtown Coeur d'Alene, we met Dustin Picher. He's a  waiter in the same situation. Picher pays $250 a month for health insurance right now.

"It's more than a car payment, it's a pretty significant expense, I'm not a rich guy," Picher says.

He hopes this new plan could mean lower payments for him.

"Most of us in the middle are working hard and could use a little help," Picher said.

The big question: Where would this money come from? The answer is surprising. Cigarettes.    

The new health care plan proposes taking money from Idaho's cigarette and tobacco tax, and that has some lawmakers skeptical.

Democratic Senator Maryanne Jordan said on the phone, "For me it's a double edged sword, to roll out a program this expensive with no other funding is problematic."

Back at the coffee shop, Hogan is convinced it's a good plan.

"I hope it goes through, I know it could lower the financial burden on my family," Hogan said.

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