Medicaid expansion may be occupying more time for Utah legislators

Consumer and health advocates say if Gov. Gary Herbert pushes harder for Medicaid expansion it will help the state's economy by having healthier, more productive employees. Photo credit: Utah Governor's Office.

What to do about Medicaid expansion? That is an issue that State Senator Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, said could occupy a lot of time for legislators until it is resolved. On <a href=”http://610kvnu.com/assets/podcaster/328/2014_07_31_328_24600_2867.mp3″ target=”_blank”>KVNU’s Crosstalk program,</a> Hillyard said some of his colleagues are leaning toward supporting the so-called “doughnut hole,” a group not now included who make less than the povety level of $11,000.

“The governor and his staff are negotiating with the Department of Health and Human Services about a waiver for a Utah-unique program,” explained Hillyard. “I heard once there are 41 criteria and they’ve met 35 of them. But there are several major ones they haven’t met yet.”

Hillyard said that in order for the state to meet some of those remaining criteria, it will require some significant help from the governor’s office and the state legislature.

“I think once the governor gets to a point where he feels comfortable, which I thought he would by now but they are still working on it, I think then he’ll call legislative leadership in and go through the whole matter and see if we can do something that complicated in a special legislative session.”

But Hillyard said he is not sure Medicaid expansion could be handled in a special session because it will require a great deal of discussion and debate.

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