Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis (D-Salt Lake City) is going all-in on Medicaid expansion. He has introduced legislation calling for the state to accept full expansion under the Affordable Care Act.
Davis's plan is the fourth facing the legislature. House Republicans have called for rejecting federal Medicaid money, instead spending $35 million of state funds to expand healthcare coverage for the needy. Senator Brian Shiozawa (R-Cottonwood Heights) has put forward a plan to accept federal money, but only to cover those at 100% of the federal poverty level instead of the 138% called for under Obamacare. Gov. Gary Herbert wants to ask the federal government for flexibility to use the funds to fund a new state program.
Davis says Utahns are already paying tax money to fund Medicaid, and it makes no sense to not take those funds.
"That money belongs to the citizens of the state of Utah," says Davis. "They are already sending it to Washington. I think it's the right thing to do to get it back."
Davis' bill, SB 272, is slated for a committee hearing Friday.