S.B. 172, “Medicaid Waiver Amendments”

SB 172 seeks Medicaid waivers from the federal government for a host of extremely bad ideas, including:

 – Per capita block grants
 – Work requirements for around 10,000 individuals
 – Medical savings accounts for Medicaid recipients
 – Retroactive eligibility limits
 – Monthly payments similar to premiums

S.B. 172 is a HUGE bill- one that makes five major changes to Medicaid in a vague bill that gives the Department of Health the discretion for determining who is eligible for Medicaid.

The work requirements would make it harder for people to qualify for Medicaid and the “per capita block grants” would allow Utah to get federal money from the government for Medicaid but the Department of Health could spend that money at their discretion.  These change make the process less transparent, without legislative oversight or imput from the public.

Alliance for a Better Utah believes that no one should have to choose between medical care and putting food on the table for their families. Monthly payments and medical savings accounts are not sensible policy changes for the low-income population that are struggling for food and board and have heightened health care needs.

The bill has been rushed through the legislature and Better Utah believes each part of this bill deserves more time during interim session to study whether the state should actually be moving forward with these changes. Additionally, the Disability Law Center will likely challenge this law in court if it passes. (http://kuer.org/post/need-medicaid-utah-soon-you-might-have-work-it#stream/0)

On February 27, the Senate passed S.B. 172, without a fiscal note attached to the bill, meaning the Senators did not know what the financial impact of the bill is estimated to be. The bill now moves to the House where it will be assigned to the appropriate committee.

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