Utah lawmakers agree to revisit Medicaid expansion alternatives in 2016 legislative session

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SALT LAKE CITY -- One day after House Republicans killed a Medicaid expansion plan, state leaders met to discuss an alternative.

“It was a good meeting,” said Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-District 9.

Niederhauser sat down with Gov. Gary Herbert and House Speaker Greg Hughes Wednesday afternoon. The meeting lasted approximately hour, during which the three agreed they would revisit the issue during the 2016 legislative session.

“What we do here is a long-term solution for the state,” Niederhauser explained. “The state’s got to live with this for 20 to 50 years, or maybe even longer.”

But coming up with any solution hasn’t been easy. Tuesday, Utah Access+ failed to garner support in both the House and Senate. Prior to that, lawmakers nixed two options last session, Healthy Utah and Utah Cares.

“It’s got to be something better than Healthy Utah: that was my attempt,” Gov. Herbert said.

It’s possible lawmakers could agree to some sort of partial Medicaid expansion, which would bring coverage to approximately 63,000 Utahns.

“The people who are in need right now are in the 0-100%,” explained Niederhauser. “And so, we’re going to now get together and work on something that works.”

In the meantime, thousands of Utahns remain without coverage in the state.

“This is a Utah problem,” said RyLee Curtis, a policy analyst for the Utah Health Policy Project.

If a partial expansion plan was to go before the legislature, Curtis said she would support it, as long as the coverage was adequate.

“There are Utahns in need,” Curtis said, “And just because they didn’t vote to support this plan last night does not meet that those Utahns, that their illness goes away.”

The 2016 session begins January 25.

7 comments

  • Donnaacasale

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  • Brad

    People are dieing and for what reason? The govenor needs to step up and take control!!!! What a poor excuse for a leader!!

    • HYRUM_JUSTICE

      Sent the illegal aliens home to Mexico Brad and take the money saved by not having to treat them and fund medical benefits for everybody.

      • t

        My very disabled brother-in-law relies on medicaid extensively. He was born that way. I would hope the governor would keep those people in mind. What do illegal aliens have to do with medicaid anyway? They don’t pull money from medicaid.

      • HYRUM_JUSTICE

        @T
        Where do you think the money comes from to provide medical benefits for illegal aliens? Do you have any concept of the amount of money the taxpayers are forking out to help them? Use that money to help deserving US citizens.

  • HYRUM_JUSTICE

    By the way Brad, in his last election Hebert beat Corroon 2 to 1. Putting the burden of funding Medicaid on the backs of the doctors who provide the care just doesn’t cut it.

  • Worlok

    Raise prices on everybody to give free healthcare to a few. That’s great for increasing the amount of people that can’t afford it. A lot to look into to find the best method of making healthcare actually affordable so free healthcare is less necessary.

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