Utah Capitol 08

Republican lawmakers are pushing ahead with their own version of Medicaid expansion to override the voter-approved Prop. 3. The viability of their plan hinges on securing a waiver from the Trump administration. Our “Political Insiders” are split along partisan lines on whether those waivers will be forthcoming.

The Legislature plans to ask the federal government to grant a waiver that allows the state to expand Medicaid coverage to low-income Utahns earning up to 100% of the federal poverty level while the government picks up 90 percent of the cost. The Affordable Care Act requires states to expand coverage to 138 percent of poverty to set the 90/10 split. No state has been granted such a waiver so far.

The Republicans on our panel are confident Utah will be granted the waivers, while the Democrats who responded along with our readers are less hopeful.

  • 71% of the Republicans on our panel said the state will be successful in winning the waivers.
  • 86% of the Democrats who responded as well as 86% of our readers said the waivers would not be granted.

Under the latest version of SB96, if the state fails in the pursuit of those waivers, Prop. 3 as approved by voters will be implemented in July of 2020.

 

Selected anonymous comments:

It is naive, at best, to believe that Utah, alone, will manage to get such a waiver. Further, it is utterly despicable for the legislature to override the will of the people of Utah.  Saying we can't afford to cover everyone, while simultaneously pushing the largest tax cut in state history is insane. Get over your hatred of anything that comes from the other side of the aisle, grow up and do your damn jobs, Utah Legislature.

Time to quit monkeying around with Utah voters and let Prop. 3 stand.

If the waivers are approved they will be held up in costly lawsuits. This is an effort to spend money to deny people health care.

You can always count on Utah screwing its self and its citizens over.

Such a waiver has not been approved to date. It’s a pipe dream puffed up to obscure the cruelty of continuing to find ways to deny low-income individuals access to the dignity of healthcare.

There probably many reasons why Utah may be denied the wavers, but we need to try.  This is some of our own money we would be getting back for heck sake. I do not trust federal agencies much, but all we can do is try.  Bureaucracy can/can't work in our favor. Who knows? Maybe we need to have a vigil all over the state at hospitals or something. People are hurting.  They need relief. I hope it will happen.

If Utah were to get this waiver scores of other states will be in line with their hands out.  The federal government would have to absorb the cost of subsidy for ACA insurance subsidy for many more marketplace enrollees.

A favorable Republican administration that hates Obamacare as much as Utah does. I’d say they have a pretty good shot.

Has no one ever worked with CMS or another federal agency?  "Verbal confirmation" doesn't mean sh*t. You have to follow the established policy.  Period. We don't get a special exemption because we want one.

Our Legislature is the modern equivalent of Ebenezer Scrooge: "Are there no prisons?  Are there no workhouses?"

This is the most fiscally irresponsible expansion of Medicaid possible. Listen closely to comments made by the bill sponsors - they want to retain the ~40,000 people currently covered under the ACA Marketplace.  Market place subsidies cost the federal government more than Medicaid! This plan reeks of politics. Perhaps they are more interested in helping the current administration open the floodgates for states to apply for per-capita caps?  Something they attempted but failed during the ACA repeal process. Ideology and greed rule the day.

They will make sure that the white house reneges on the waivers, causing the whole thing to crash and burn. An angry citizenry will take it out on GOP Legislators next election. Some of them will be removed from office.

It is a long shot and naive thinking on the part of the legislature to think a waiver will be granted.

Trump administration has been supportive of States rights and in this, I feel Utah will be successful.

A. I don’t believe the Feds will grant the waiver:  B. It’s not good management to base financial policy on conditions you have little or no control over.  C. In my humble opinion, it’s also not good governing to refuse money that benefits your constituents in favor of a philosophical argument.

I personally oppose the Medicare expansion and did not vote for it but I am more opposed to the legislature disregarding the will of the people.

We've already tried and failed to get those waivers.

It doesn't make sense to go this route because we already approved the full expansion without waivers.  This bill is a gamble.

I believe the legislators are trying to kill Medicaid expansion using the unlikely waivers as an excuse. The fact is the legislature is grossly insulting the electorate who voted for full expansion and showed that they are willing to pay for it. Shame on the legislators behind this.

One of the few advantages of the Trump administration is that it is generally willing to do things that break with political norms that previous administrations of each party were reluctant to do.

We won't get the waivers. No one has. Anderegg and Fillmore know this. They want to kill Medicaid expansion, but not as overtly seem to without seeking the waivers.

Of course, there will be no waivers. The leg is just doing this to pretend they care about our voting on the propositions. They can then blame the feds for overturning another initiative.

Given that our lawmakers voted to override the people's vote, I do not think that they will make it possible to have waivers granted. Getting health care to more people is not a priority for them.

Voters made it clear they wanted full Medicaid expansion and they voted for a sales that that was presumed to pay for it. The Legislature could adjust the sales tax or use other revenue growth but should do nothing to reduce the full coverage voters approved.

While the state must maintain a balanced budget, with a $1B budget surplus there is no reason our legislators can't find a way to help those in need. We are, supposedly, the most giving state in the country....  aren't we?

While there are many failed attempts at getting federal Medicaid waivers by the state, the Trump administration has shown greater flexibility and a willingness to work with us.

SB 96 sponsors know that Utah won't get waivers (certainly not from an administration that is actively trying to kill ACA).  That is the plan, to kill Prop 3. It is intentional, to ignore the expressed will of the voters.

The waivers are simply a way to foist responsibility for not expanding Medicaid onto federal officials rather than our own legislators. We are not fooled by these machinations to obfuscate the issue.

Why would the federal government agree to pay 20% more of the costs for Utah? Nothing we are doing is innovative or unique to give them the incentive to let us experiment. We are bartering for a lower price for the state without any leverage.

Utah Republicans have a history of paying more for less and whenever possible doing the most harm.  They wouldn't take a chance on helping the less fortunate.

The Feds waiver system is meant to only approve waivers that are net neutral. This waiver Utah is asking for is not net neutral. And let’s say they approve it for Utah, how many other states have asked and will ask. There is no way the Feds are going to approve this waiver for Utah.

The GOP-olitboro of the Utah Legislature spent a lot of time and money gerrymandering the election maps so that they could do things TO the voters, not to let the voters decide anything. Why would they let something as silly as an election, and a majority of voters, dictate who they can and can't hurt? They're Utah Republicans! They can hurt whoever they want!

Renegades tend to be like birds, they flock together.