Utah Policy/KSL Insider Survey: House GOP Plan on Medicaid Expansion

Utah House GOP leaders are leaning toward a plan to give health care coverage to some low-income Utahns without accepting federal Medicaid expansion dollars. Our “Political Insiders” and readers sound off on the plan.

Selected anonymous comments:

“The Governor can make this decision on his own, without the Legislature. I predict he will choose to take at least a good portion of the federal money. Why should Utahns have to pay for something twice — once with our federal taxes, and then again with the House’s goofy $35 million partial fix?”

“Expanding Medicaid, first of all, is the right thing to do ethically. Its also makes financial sense; citizens who have access to medical care are more productive and have fewer expensive visits to emergency rooms. If Romney had been president and had sponsored this, Utah would have been all for it!”

“It’s a rock and a hard place, and this is one area where I am glad the Legislature is at least looking for alternatives.”

“The hypocrisy behind the rejection of Medicaid money is growing with every passing day.”

“Heath care is turning universal and the longer Utah procrastinates the longer low income individuals and families will go without effective coverage and the more the state – us, you and me – will have to pay for it one way or another.”

“Helping poor people get access to health care shouldn’t be ideological, but it has become that.”

“The federal government picking up the tab for Medicaid for a few years is the same trap our state has stepped in time and time again. Governor Herbert is a habitual federal money grabber who always seems to take the bait and then talks like Utah is so innovative. While not a Lockhart fan, and not necessarily a fan of this proposal, their (the House) minds are in the right place.”

“This idea of walking away from all federal dollars associated with Medicaid expansion is completely absurd. It is an idiotic thing deserving nothing but ridicule. Keep it up guys and gals. We’ll approach the approval ratings of the U.S. Congress.”

“Every time Utah takes the strings attached federal money, we lose some of our sovereignty. It forces Utah into an entitlement position with the federal government. What ever happened to self reliance? Just because our tax money goes to the federal government doesn’t mean we should accept all the strings attached when it comes back to us. And one more thing, if Obamacare is such a bad thing that Utah was willing to go to the Supreme Court over it, why are we nullifying the Supreme Court decision by now taking the money? Obamacare isn’t sustainable long term and Utah shouldn’t be complicit in it because when the federal money dries up our state will be stuck with the bill.”

“This crap just plays to Tea Party fear and loathing. It makes no policy sense. This is the year of irrationality in the legislature.”

“Fed money comes from taxes partly paid for by Utahns, so it makes sense that we take it and not reinvent the wheel.”

“I am utterly fascinated with the Legislature’s inability to let go of their ideology and take the money for full expansion. Used to think it was sword rattling, now I’m pretty sure they are just stupid.”

“Utah can not afford to give up millions of taxpayer dollars to appease the far right. There are no federal government ‘boogy men’ on this issue.”

“The majority of Utahns obviously don’t support ObamaCare with its attendant Medicaid expansion. However, why should Utah taxpayers be hit twice, with Utah tax dollars going both to the federal government to fund Medicaid expansion in other states, and to the state government to cover low-income healthcare here? The House’s plan is simply foolish, and Becky Lockhart should desist with her transparent campaign schemes.”

“This is a political game, nothing more. The Speaker and legislators are foolishly putting their own anti-fed agenda before the needs of 123,000 Utahns. We are paying money into a program yet we are threatening to turn our backs on our own money and our own citizens.”

“Take the ‘dirty’ money from the feds and use the money that would otherwise be spent funding the House GOP leaders plan and devote it to Lockhart’s public education technology plan.”

“This plan balances the real needs of medically frail Utahns with the reality that federal dollars can’t continue to pay for existing entitlements, let alone additional entitlements like Medicaid expansion.”

“It’s clear there is a pissing match between the House and the Senate/Herbert team, on this and other issues.”

“We have heard for years all the moaning and groaning about the Feds taking money from Utah – so why are they now so upset about getting a bunch of it back? Utah’s poor deserve better than the far-right politicking that seems to obsess the Legislature every session, and this Medicaid faux-issue is a prime example.”

“There’s no way to describe this other than the blunt way – it’s a stupid plan. Utahns are already paying federal taxes, so we’re gonna reject the federal money and pay more state money to cover fewer people. Really? Just to score some political points with the tea-party to support Lockhart’s run for Governor? That’s one magic bullet…”

“The Federal Government doesn’t have the money to fund Medicaid. We’re stealing from future generations. That is taxation without representation. Utah has a long history of taking care of the poor. We don’t need the government to force us to do it.”

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein. GOP Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and wondering why the ‘different’ people haven’t left already, I mean, what more do Republicans need to do to get the message through to you people?”

“A plan that helps the poor but doesn’t hurt anyone else? Something maybe President Obama should learn about.”