As the impasse over Medicaid expansion continues on Utah's Capitol Hill, our "Political Insiders" are split over whether lawmakers will be able to come to a compromise.
The Utah Senate passed SB164, dubbed by some as "Healthy Utah 2.0," but House leadership says they will not give the bill a hearing because there's not enough support on their side for it to pass.
51% of the Republicans and 50% of the Democrats in our "Political Insiders" panel think Utah lawmakers will adjourn on March 12 without making a decision on Medicaid expansion. 62% of our readers say that's a definite possibility.
Most of the anonymous comments from our survey respondents think lawmakers are shirking their responsibility when it comes to making a decision on the issue.
Selected anonymous comments:
"Healthy Utah is the culmination of over two years of studying, public input, and negotiations. Anything that is designed and created the last two weeks of session without any study or public input is a disgrace to the policy process."
"The House needs to get responsible and vote for Healthy Utah or pure Medicaid expansion…not some alternative plan that was not discussed with the public. It would be quite irresponsible of legislators to adjourn without voting in favor of Healthy Utah."
"They're all acting like there's no money and a recession is right around the corner. Fear (or the convenience of choosing fear to avoid spending money) is ruling the Legislature this year."
"I think there's a good chance of a Special Session. Speaker Hughes may regret his decision to make this a confrontation with the Senate and the Governor in his first year."
"Our Legislature is still holding out hope that the Affordable Care Act will be gutted by the Supreme Court since they know that even if a repeal were to pass Congress, it would be vetoed. This 'wait and see' and 'hiding our heads in the sand' attitude will only hurt in the long run as our tax dollars will continue to subsidize the rest of the country's acceptance."
"They made a decision. The decision is no."
"Punish the poor people – we all know they deserve nothing."
"Checks and balances properly used."
"As they do with any controversial issue, they will kick the can down the road for another year."
"Debate the bill. House members need to not hide behind a closed caucus. Statement made that they didn't want to waste time. Please explain why debate on a bill dealing with how to kill someone vs. not debating a bill on how to save peoples lives is more important."
"It's the poor's fault that they are poor, that's what Jesus says … right?"
"Whatever happened to listening to the people and debating critical public policy? Shameful, shameful, shameful!"
"Why should they care about the uninsured… They all have good insurance and the last few years the legislators have made it pretty clear that they are only concerned for themselves! Pretty sad state of affairs!"
"It's all brinksmanship."
"This would be seen as the first major failure of the new House leadership if they are unable to get a compromise."
"It is unfortunate that the Utah house is trying to emulate the disfunction of Washington, D.C."
"The public will blame the House and House leadership for ducking a tough vote and wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars while leaving poor Utahns without health care."
"The House will stand firm in their righteous indignation while tens of thousands of Utahns go without healthcare…again. They choose petty political games over peoples lives…again. Epic fail!"
"The right thing to do is support the governor, but more importantly support all those who don't have insurance and become burdens to the rest of the state when they are financially distressed because their lack of medical Insurance."