Utah State leaders announced today that they have found consensus around a conceptual framework for Medicaid Expansion.
A group of six state leaders has continued meeting since the close of the 2015 General Legislative Session to find a resolution to the 'coverage gap' created by Obamacare. The key principles they are working to address include coverage for those most in need, data accuracy regarding assumptions and projections, sustainability and protecting other critical areas of our state budget.
The framework of this proposal provides coverage for a population up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level utilizing the greatest return of Utah taxpayer dollars through the ACA. It protects the State from cost overruns through a formulaic funding model allowing providers and benefactors of Medicaid dollars to pay their share, and is sustainable for many years to follow.
Speaker of the House Greg Hughes said, "It is important that we develop a solution that is in the best interest of all Utahns. If we can provide health coverage for those most in need while protecting other critical areas of our state budget, like public education, I believe we will have a model for other states to follow."
"None of this process has been easy," said Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, "but the negotiations have been professional and pleasant. This agreement holds out hope that Utah’s compassion can harmonize with her common sense and be fiscally sustainable over the long term."
Gov. Gary R. Herbert said, "I appreciate the process we have engaged in with House and Senate leaders in finding compromise on this important issue. There is still work to be done, but I believe we now have a framework in place that will provide care for Utahns most in need while being responsible with limited taxpayer funds."
The group will meet with stakeholders and policy makers in the coming weeks. Once a formal draft is produced, they will identify specific dates for public hearings through legislative committees and a special legislative session.