Doctor says Idaho’s Legislature is responsible for deaths

The Director of critical care at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, Dr. Kenneth Krell, told a legislative committee today that Idaho’s failure to expand Medicaid to cover 78,000 Idahoans is at least partially due to legislative inacton.

He said there’s been debate about how many lives are lost each year because of Idaho’s failure to expand Medicaid. “I think the best statistics come from a study in the New England Journal a couple of years ago,” he said. “It compared states who accepted Medicaid expansion with a neighboring state that did not. In that study it was found that the failure to expand Medicaid cost 19.7 lives per 100,000 population. If we extrapolate that … that’s about 324 lives a year. That is: Nearly one patient per day dies in this state as a result of not having Medicaid expansion. And that’s a direct result of that failure to obtain care at a stage when the disease process could be treated effectively and not only death, but hospitalization and illness prevented.”

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