Opinion

Healthcare in Idaho: Will there be a doctor in the house?

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

As one of the fastest-growing states, Idaho finds itself at a crossroads in healthcare policy with important decisions on the horizon. The Idaho Hospital Association has been closely monitoring this evolving landscape and how voters see the issues. Recent statewide polling reveals a clear message: Idahoans are concerned about access to healthcare in the coming years and willing to pay to preserve those services.

With the rise in population comes an increased demand for healthcare. The poll asked voters if Idaho has enough healthcare resources like doctors and hospitals for everyone in the next 10 years. A resounding 68 percent of people said no. This speaks volumes about the concerns that our citizens have regarding the future of healthcare availability.

When asked about the idea of controlling healthcare costs and/or limiting services, two out of three Idaho voters said they want to safeguard access to services, even if it means higher costs. They understand healthcare is not just another resource; itís a lifeline that can mean the difference between survival or tragedy. With increasing challenges to recruit and retain healthcare professionals in Idaho, I wonder Öwhen your family needs that lifeline, will there be a doctor in the house?

Access to healthcare is part of a strong foundation of a healthy community. When individuals can readily access the care they need, preventative measures can be taken, early diagnoses can be made, and chronic conditions can be managed effectively, reducing the burden on the system.

We cannot ignore the issue of cost associated with preserving access to services. No one wants to see healthcare expenses spiral out of control. Thatís why Idaho hospitals are investing in coordinated healthcare models that are demonstrating real cost savings. By catching health issues early and providing timely care, we can avoid more costly treatments. Simply cutting services is not the secret to effectively cutting costs.

It's time to invest in healthcare infrastructure, increase the number of healthcare professionals, expand capacity, and improve access in rural areas. The goal should be to ensure that quality care remains within reach for all Idahoans, regardless of location or financial status.