House Speaker Greg Hughes says the "gang of six" is making progress on coming up with a plan for Medicaid expansion, but it all hinges on what the Supreme Court does next month.
Of course, we're talking about the King v. Burwell suit that alleges the federal subsidies in the Affordable Care Act are unconstitutional. The high court is expected to rule on the case in June.
"Washington is in vapor lock until that decision comes down," says Hughes. "You can't have a conversation with anyone. It's hard to have a policy discussion when everyone is looking at that decision. Once it comes down, we will be able to pick up the pace."
The group, which features Hughes, Governor Gary Herbert, Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, Sen. Brian Shiozawa and House Majority Leader Jim Dunnigan, met with Health and Human Services Secretary Sally Burwell in Washington, D.C. Hughes says they have been making progress in those talks. As he has been throughout this process, Hughes is stressing fiscal responsibility.
"How can we predict what the costs are going to be? If we're going to commit money and expand, you want it to be something you can provide in a long-term way."
Governor Gary Herbert's original Healthy Utah plan included an opt-out for the state if financial conditions changed. Hughes doesn't want to have an opt-out in whatever plan they come up with.
"We need to look less at an exit strategy and more at building something you can sustain."