SALT LAKE CITY, Utah State Capitol —
At Governor Herbert’s press conference recorded at KUED7 today, the state’s chief executive led off the media discussion referencing his current thoughts on Medicaid and those Utahns who have been without healthcare coverage while the state made attempts to provide it. After more than two years, and a partnership with the federal government, healthcare for all Utahns seems within reach.
While many other states in the West have been fully covered by expanding their Medicaid coverage through state budgets, many policymakers said Utah was forced to be conservative due to balanced budget requirements and a previous administration in Washington that wouldn’t allow caps on coverage or a work requirement that Utah felt was necessary. Consideration for the people living at the federal poverty level (or even slightly above who are arguably the most in need of healthcare) is now within reach due to waivers from the present, federal Health and Human Services Department allowing a “work requirement” from able-bodied workers (“If you’re unemployed, we’ll get you a job; If you’re ‘underemployed’ [the state] will get you a better job!” said Herbert), many of whom needed the coverage either at the lowest rates on the healthcare exchanges or through this pending expansion.
Utah’s Medicare Bill to be Introduced This Week
Rep Jim Dunnigan (Republican -Taylorsville) has a lot of expertise to bring to the current discussion and was able to tell Utah Political Capitol today that he would introduce legislation this week to account for healthcare coverage for all residing in the Beehive State. We caught up to him in the House chamber floor at lunchtime on the Wednesday of Day 30/45 of Utah’s legislative session.