Utah lawmakers left the Hill at the end of the 2015 session without a plan for expanding Medicaid. Gov. Gary Herbert has set a deadline of July 31 to make a deal.
Our "Political Insiders" say they're confident that the legislature and Governor will come to a compromise before that deadline. 2/3rds of the Republicans on our panel say a deal is likely as do 68% of Democrats. Only 53% of our readers say they will find common ground before the deadline.
Selected anonymous comments:
"I don't see how Speaker Hughes requirement that the state be allowed to cap spending or reduce the coverage from 138% of FPL to 100% could ever be agreed to by the Obama administration. I also think that there are so many members of the House who are very hostile to even modest expansion of Medicaid that even if some agreement was reached, Speaker Hughes and even Leader Dunnigan could not get it past their members."
"These mean-spirited Republican 'Christian' legislators are clueless. They are willing to throw away our tax dollars to prove a point. It is appalling. The vast majority of Utah's voters want the "Healthy Utah" compromise approved, and the House is unwilling to consider it. Of course, a real Medicaid expansion would be the best, but they won't go there. They have their tax-payer-paid insurance, but won't consider 'socialized' insurance for those who truly need it. What a bunch of hypocrites."
"It all depends on Greg Hughes and his stubbornness in supporting the recalcitrant members of his caucus, instead of the Utahns who would benefit from access to insurance and good medical care."
"There's a lot of pressure on house leadership to step back from the political abyss of doing nothing, and they will act accordingly."
"If they manage anything it will be lame and of little help to anyone except perhaps their egos."
"I continue to be saddened by an approach to health care that controls costs by denying those unable to access insurance or pay the bills in a state that loudly proclaims that it is a Christian community. Mind boggling."
"The Guv set a goal and promised the people he would have an agreement plan for Medicaid expansion by this date. I am honoring his word! If only Greg Hughes wasn't on this task force…things would be so much easier! He is a major road block to having this piece of legislation become law!"
"Notice the deadline was established by the Governor and not the Legislature. When will he learn to set joint goals and deadlines?"
"VERY likely that said 'solution' will help the working poor less and less."
"I believe there is a good chance that they will reach some sort of deal, but with Hughes and Dunnigan involved I sadly have no faith in a GOOD deal being reached."
"Shame on them all. To allow people to go without complete coverage is so irresponsible. I work as an EMT, so I see what they have done. The people in America should have the same Healthcare as the people lording it over them. SHAME on you all"
"Republicans in the legislature are making up excuses to delay and ultimately neglect to expand Medicaid at all. They suffer from any commitment to support low-wage workers and people in poverty. They refuse to recognize good health policy until and unless they are personally affected."
"What solution do they need to come up with? The issue has been studied for years and the best option has already come forward with a laundry list of supporters already behind it. Lawmakers need to swallow hard, do the right thing and approve Healthy Utah."
"Sadly, House leadership has left very little room to negotiate. More importantly, the Speaker will have to go back and face a very Libertarian body that doesn't believe government should be involved in healthcare in the first place. I think both the Senate and the Governor are ready to sit down and work, but the House, elected in radical pockets through a tainted caucus system, won't allow this move forward."
"The House Republicans are going to have to revive their cold dead Obama-hating hearts first. We can only hope that Herbert finds his spine and refuses to concede any more than he already has with his Healthy Utah plan. We should have expanded Medicaid when it first became an option."
"Herbert has taken an all or nothing approach. Had he come to the legislature with a collaborative posture he'd have had a chance for a deal. At the press conference at the end of the session he was arrogant, dancing in the end zone. For what? The House has zero appetite to sign into the Obamacare's 'Hotel California' where you can check out anytime… but you can never leave. Hope it stays that way."
"Speaker Hughes realizes where the public opinion is on this issue, and understands the political implications for 2016 if there is no deal. His job is to convince his herd of cats to understand that reality."
"Medicaid doesn't need to be expanded; it needs to be eliminated entirely!"
"They should have just gotten this done during the session. I don't know what is wrong with the GOP In the House. What a waste of time (and money!)"
"It is real easy. Come up with a different name. Not Healthy Utah or Utah Cares. Look at the compromise the House came up with. Don't try to take such a big step at once like Healthy Utah did and don't take the everything or nothing approach the Senate did. Call it Helping Utah."
"Depends on how much pressure Herbert can exert – it's obvious that good sense hasn't been persuasive enough."
"Never underestimate the obstinance of Greg Hughes."