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BYU-Idaho reverses Medicaid decision, apologizes for community turmoil

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BYU-Idaho campus | Courtesy BYU-Idaho

REXBURG — Brigham Young University-Idaho has reversed its decision to reject Medicaid as a waiver to its Student Health Plan.

The university issued a statement and an apology for the turmoil the decision caused in a campus-wide email Monday night. University spokesman Brett Crandall confirmed the email, but declined to comment further.

“We have decided that Medicaid, as it has in previous years, will meet the health coverage requirement at BYU-Idaho,” the email says.

The email goes on to say that because of its limited capacity and scope of services, the Student Health Center will continue not serving as a Medicaid service provider.

“The well-being of our students and their families is very important to us,” the notice said. “We are grateful for the feedback we have received from our campus community and for the input of the local medical community. We apologize for the turmoil caused by our earlier decision.”

RELATED | Student reporters at BYU-Idaho allegedly pressured not to publish negative stories

Earlier this month, students discovered the decision to reject Medicaid when registering for classes. As part of the registration process, students are required to either have adequate health insurance coverage or participate in the Student Health Plan.

The university’s initial decision came with no apparent warning. After several media articles, the university claimed the change was due to the impracticality for the local medical community to provide for the healthcare needs for the tens of thousands of students enrolled annually.

Many local medical providers disputed that claim and told EastIdahoNews.com they are ready for the 2020 Medicaid Expansion in Idaho.

RELATED | BYU-Idaho offers explanation for Medicaid rejection, but medical community is skeptical

An article about the issue appeared in the New York Times on Sunday.

A growing group of BYU-Idaho students have been actively campaigning for the university to reverse its policy over the last week.

“I am overjoyed,” BYU-Idaho student advocate Connor Pack said. “I’m so, so glad and grateful that they were able to see that they were wrong, own up to it, and do the right thing. I’m just sorry it had to be such a fight to get to this point.”

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