Sources: Senate Has Enough Support to Pass Healthy Utah

Senate sources tell that enough support exists in that body to pass the Healthy Utah Medicaid expansion alternative when it comes up for a floor vote.

What is not clear is whether there are 15 Republicans ready to support SB 164 since no formal vote counting has happened in the GOP caucus.

That means Democrats could play a major role in approving the legislation. Senate leadership is normally loathe to bring an issue of this magnitude to the floor unless they are sure enough support in their caucus for passage, so as to not give Democrats too much decision-making power. 

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser has repeatedly said he supports Healthy Utah because he feels it's important to cover the gap created when the Supreme Court ruled Medicaid expansion was voluntary for states instead of mandatory. 

"This issue may play out on the floor," said one member of Senate leadership. "People may not make up their minds on the issue until we debate the bill during floor time."

At least one member of House leadership also thinks SB 164 is headed toward approval in their body. However, they are also hoping SB 153, dubbed "frail Utah," sponsored by Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, is approved by Senators as well so the house can consider both pieces of legislation.

That may not be in the cards. 

When asked about the prospects for SB 153, a high-ranking Senator said his sense was there is not enough support for SB 153 to win approval.