Herbert lays out Medicaid plan details

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.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Gov. Gary Herbert has unveiled details about his alternative to expanding eligibility for Medicaid, arguing it’s the best option for Utah under the federal health care law.

Herbert said at a news conference Thursday morning that he’s open to lawmakers’ suggestions and wants to work with them to pass his plan during the upcoming legislative session.

His news conference came after the lieutenant governor and health department director presented the plan’s details to lawmakers Thursday.

The federal government has offered to help pay most of the cost if states allow more people to be eligible for the state-federal program.

Herbert has instead proposed using federal money to enroll about 95,000 low-income Utah residents in private health care programs.

The governor has a tentative deal with the federal government but Utah’s GOP-controlled Legislature must approve it.

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