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Idaho Counties May Not Pay for Indigent Care Anymore

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho counties are debating whether to quit paying the hospital bills of some indigent patients in the wake of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Currently, Idaho’s 44 counties pay the first $11,000 of an indigent person’s medical bills. The state pays the rest, with the total annual price tag now between $50 million and $60 million.

The Lewiston Tribune reported last week Idaho Association of Counties executive director Dan Chadwick wants to tinker with the program. Since the ACA now requires everyone be insured, Chadwick contends, those who decline to buy coverage can no longer be considered indigent. If Chadwick’s plan were enacted, it could mean hospitals would have to find another revenue source to cover uninsured patients they’re required by law to treat. It’s still in the discussion stages.

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