Press Release: Legislature Chooses to Leave Tens of Thousands of Utahns #Stillwaiting for Health Coverage

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 8, 2018

LEGISLATURE CHOOSES TO LEAVE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF UTAHNS #STILLWAITING FOR HEALTH COVERAGE

Salt Lake City, UT – In the final hours of the 2018 Legislative Session, the Utah Senate passed H.B. 472 from Rep. Robert Spendlove (R – Sandy) by a vote of 20-8. This bill would expand Utah’s Medicaid program; however, the waiver in the bill would apply work requirements and enrollment caps to the expansion population, and would only cover those who make up to 100% of the federal poverty level, rather than the traditional expansion up to 138% FPL.

Chase Thomas, Better Utah’s policy and advocacy counsel, issued the following statement in response:

“After four years of constituents asking, legislators can finally say they have expanded Medicaid. However, Utahns should know that so much more could have been done. For four years now, our Legislature could have fully expanded Medicaid, giving much-needed health coverage to over a hundred thousand Utahns. For three of those years, full expansion would have been provided to the state free-of-charge by the federal government.

“Passing this bill shows that one of the core arguments against full expansion — the supposed fiscal havoc it would wreak on our state budget — is a false argument. Lawmakers were able to quickly scrape $50 million together for this bill when faced with a ballot initiative looming on the horizon. It would now be immoral to say they could not find another $35 million to cover an additional tens of thousands of Utahns when millions of dollars in new revenue are instead being put toward renovated Olympic facilities, multi-million dollar coal lawsuits, and countless other pork barrel projects.

“As the saying goes, ‘Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.’ Ultimately, what does this bill and its half-hearted efforts to care for all the needy among us say about what our Legislature values?”

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Alliance for a Better Utah is a good government advocacy and watchdog organization based in Salt Lake City. The organization works to improve the lives of all Utahns by ensuring balance, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at www.betterutah.org.

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