Governor Otter told the nation to follow Idaho’s budgeting example in a recent Fox News interview, but he neglected to mention Idahoans whose voices have been ignored. Otter boasted, “…there wasn’t anybody thrown out in the streets.”
Otter ignored the thousands of recipients of so-called “entitlements” who testified during the 2011 Legislature. People in dire circumstances–seniors, single moms and dads, the disabled and many others–told the Republican-controlled Legislature that Medicaid barely allowed them to remain independent and that cuts would threaten their basic survival.
In a recent Boise Weekly article Sen. Eliot Werk says it best: “When you low-ball your revenue estimates, slash and burn education, disenfranchise people from medical care, and you end up with a little more revenue in the basket, that’s not a surplus. Thank goodness federal requirements sent some of that money back to education, but the governor decided to use much of the rest for a $10 grocery tax credit that most people aren’t going to notice. Instead he could have sent money to Medicaid, where we could have leveraged three to four times more money in matching federal funds.” This would have given those Idahoans that have been kicked to the curb by medicaid cuts the chance to regain their self-respect and independence. The Idaho model isn’t working for the people of Idaho so let’s hope the nation doesn’t follow Governor Otter’s example.”