Salt Lake City —
At a meeting with reporters to address his views on the state’s legislative efforts to create laws and establish Utah’s budget priorities for the coming fiscal year, Governor Gary Herbert issued his own understanding of the U.S. Senate’s rebuke of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) from its original announcement in Washington on Monday, March 6. Herbert described the GOP’s “replace” effort on Obamacare as a “starting point,” that would doubtlessly have several more versions before being made into federal law. Herbert’s own state will conclude its effort with budget and lawmaking on Thursday of this week when part-time legislators complete their annual schedule.
Concerned about his party’s newest healthcare plan for the nation and its implications on state governments’ fiscal stability, Herbert (a former head of the National Governor’s Association) described his economic policy reactions on state budgeting with another description of the arcade game called “Whack-A-Mole,” where when one aspect is solved, a problem is generated in a different area or “line item.”
“The biggest problem with [Obamacare] was it was so partisan in its inception… nobody knew what was in the bill,” Herbert said, referring to the initial passage of the Democrat’s voluminous plan which is currently in effect and popular in Utah but drawing significant criticism as being too costly and “unsustainable” for all the states. Quoting House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) when she famously quipped, “We’ve got to pass [the ACA] to know what’s in it,” Herbert termed that style of lawmaking, “bass-ackward.”
The Utah Governor also expressed his concern about the lack of competitive healthcare options within his own state, saying that in 13 of Utah’s 29 counties, there was only one healthcare provider. He was referring to IHC, known since 2005 as Intermountain Healthcare, which is a non-profit organization that was developed by the LDS (Mormon) Church.
Operating in tandem with their multiple clinic and hospital locations throughout Utah and southern Idaho, Intermountain Healthcare was lauded in 2009 by then President Barack Obama as a successful model which can “offer high-quality care at a cost below average.” In that year, Intermountain Healthcare made it so Utahns paid 44% less for their medical services than the national average. Herbert told reporters that the (unnamed) provider was “sticking around,” but was losing money.
Governor Gary Herbert’s own words on the American Health Care Act defection of Senate Republicans Mike Lee and Rand Paul, and the whole ball of healthcare beeswax:
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