BIZ BUZZ: Idaho healthcare debate continues, unique healthcare model in the works, and more


Share This
Pocatello public hearing | Logan Dennis

Do you want to know what’s happening on the east Idaho business scene? We’ve got you covered.

Here is a rundown of this week’s business news across the valley.

If you have a Biz Buzz item you want to share, send it to Remember to use “Biz Buzz” in the subject line. Also, don’t forget to sign up for the free Biz Buzz email newsletter.



Community in favor of proposed healthcare plan

Pocatello public hearing | Logan Dennis

POCATELLO – Last week, we told you about the public hearing for the Idaho Healthcare plan in Pocatello.

Logan Dennis with Idaho Voices for Children reached out to us to tell us how it went, so we spoke with him to find out more information.

What is the Idaho Healthcare plan?

The plan is comprised of two different waivers.

The first is a 1332 waiver, which would allow a larger number of people in Idaho to apply for the Advanced Premium Tax Credit (APTC), who previously could not.

“With this 1332 waiver, the Department of Health and Welfare estimates 35,000 more Idahoans would now be able to purchase health insurance because it would be affordable for them,” Dennis tells us.

The second proposal is the 1115 waiver, which would take the most complex and expensive medical cases off the state exchange. If implemented, Dennis tells us this would lower the cost of insurance premiums by 20-percent.

Dennis says those who spoke at the hearing were overwhelmingly in favor of both proposals, but felt the 1115 waiver should be more responsive to behavioral and mental health conditions.

Victoria Loveland is one example. She flew from Washington to testify at the hearing. Loveland is a mother who used to live in Idaho. She lost her son to suicide. Her family moved to Washington when medical care became too expensive.

“When I heard of these new initiatives, 1115 in particular, my heart was filled with gratitude and hope,” Loveland stated at the hearing. “I can see that you want to provide medical access in Idaho.”

Around 40 people attended last week’s hearing in Pocatello. There is another public hearing in Coeur d’Alene this week.

If approved on the state level, the waivers would need to be approved on the federal level. Dennis says they hope to get approval for these waivers to be implemented when people participate in open enrollment next year.


Bingham Memorial Hospital buys Blackfoot water towers for $1

File photo |

BLACKFOOT – Bingham Memorial Hospital will ask the citizens of Blackfoot and surrounding areas to help design the new look of one of the water towers it recently purchased from the city of Blackfoot.

Last week, the city council agreed to sell the water towers, one on Walker Street and the other at 255 West Idaho Street, to the hospital for the sum of $1.

“We asked other communities if they wanted to buy the towers,” Councilman Chris Jensen said Tuesday. “Nobody wanted them. They have no (sellable) value.”

In July, the council members put out a call for bids to demolish the towers. During the August City Council meeting Bingham Memorial stepped up to save the towers.

Read the full article here.


Bingham Memorial Hospital offers to rescue water towers from being demolished

Citizens launch effort to save Blackfoot water towers


15 doctors launching unique health care model in east Idaho

IDAHO FALLS — A team of 15 doctors is coming together to provide a new and unique health care model in east Idaho.

Dr. Fahim Rahim says people are tired of paying exorbitant amounts of money to drive all over town to receive care that, in many cases, does not even fix the problem.

Rahim says the Integrated Care Clinics, which is currently under construction, will be a one-stop-shop that provides quality medical care at a lower cost.

“We will have a team of specialists — heart doctors, kidney doctors, along with Orthopedic, spinal and pain surgeons (and others) all under one roof,” Rahim tells

Rahim says by having all the staff and resources in one location, it will improve the communication between doctors and patients, the quality of care patients receive, as well as convenience and cost to the patient.

Read the full article here.


This is part of Christmas in downtown this holiday season. It is being held at the Museum of Idaho. For the next two Saturdays, you can also enjoy horse drawn trolley rides in downtown. Listen to last week’s interview with downtown development Exec. Director Catherine Smith for more information.


Farnsworth TV and Pioneer Museum brings visitors near and far

Carrie Snider |

RIGBY – In the heart of Rigby, a museum pays homage to its most famous resident, Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of the television. But the museum also celebrates local culture with a large collection of items and memories of years gone by.

The Farnsworth TV and Pioneer Museum, located at 118 W. First South in Rigby, brings visitors near and far and is definitely worth a visit.

The more than 13,000-square foot building showcases a wide variety of antiques, from a collection of chainsaws to military memorabilia to animal skins to rooms that highlight the different communities in east Idaho.

“It shows local culture, how people lived back then,” said Cleave Reddick, the museum’s curator.

Read the full article here.


Courtesy photo

REXBURG – The owner of Gator Jack’s in Rexburg is calling it quits, and many people are wondering why.

Dylan Makemson purchased the restaurant about two years ago. According to the former owner, Chantell Winegar, Makemson has bone cancer, and has been fighting for his life for the last 9 months.

“He’s been in Utah getting treatments and has not been able to be here and work in the store,” Winegar tells us. “When you have high school kids and college kids trying to run a business, it makes it pretty tough.”

We reached out to Dylan’s wife, Alexa for comment. We have not yet received a response.

We hope to have more information soon.


Fall River Electric pays out $1 million to customers

The following is a press release from Fall River Electric.

ASHTON – Fall River Electric Cooperative has mailed checks to over 6,000 of its owner-members (customers) totaling $1,023,143 under its patronage capital program.

“Payments made to our customers are a unique and tremendous benefit to being a member of a cooperative,” says Fall River Electric CEO/General Manager Bryan Case in a news release.

Fall River Electric operates as a nonprofit cooperative, which is owned by the customers it serves. When revenues collected by the co-op exceed operating costs, those extra revenues become patronage capital, which is then disbursed to its owner-members on an approximate twenty-year cycle.

“It is made possible with the approval of our elected Board of Directors. They analyze the financial health of our Cooperative and only pay out patronage capital when it is in the best interest of our entire membership.” Case said.

A 20-year retirement rotation helps the Cooperative achieve its ideal equity level which allows the co-op to obtain lower interest loans used for large capital projects.


The Batter’s Box opened a month ago and is one of the only indoor batting facilities of its kind in the area. Baseball and softball players can pitch, hit and catch in the two available batting cages. Learn all about it in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

If you want your business to be featured in the Small Business spotlight, send an email to Please use “SBS” in the subject line.


Local doctor helps injured athletes recover through unique procedure

Extreme Blue Thunder Air Show named 2017 air show of the year

If you haven’t bought a Christmas tree, you better hurry

Good Question: What does the “M” on the M&Ms stand for?

Respond to this story