Utah’s Health Care Conversation Moves Ahead

Written by: Dan Bammes

Those who attended Utah Foundation’s Across the Spectrum event on April 2nd got a different kind of legislative wrapup, including a discussion of the most important thing the legislature didn’t do – act on Governor Gary Herbert’s proposal to provide health care to Utahns who don’t qualify for Medicaid or for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act.

Healthy Utah was passed in the Utah Senate, but had so little support among Republicans in the House that Speaker Greg Hughes wouldn’t even bring it to the floor. An alternative called UtahCares that would cover far fewer people also failed to pass.

The panel discussion included managing editor Bryan Schott of UtahPolicy.com and talk-show host Rod Arquette of KNRS. News director Sheryl Worsley of KSL Newsradio was the moderator.

At one point in the conversation, they focused on what’s next, with the issue now in the hands of a committee that includes six elected officials: Governor Herbert, Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox, House Speaker Hughes and Majority Leader Jim Dunnigan as well as State Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and Senator Brian Shiozawa.

The New York Times offers this excellent explanation of the King v. Burwell court case.

Utah is among the states that has not set up its own health care exchange under the Affordable Care Act, relying instead on the federal government to provide access to subsidized policies at healthcare.gov. More than 140,000 Utahns had signed up for those policies as of January 2015.

Governor Herbert has promised to call a special session of the legislature to deal with the issue this summer.

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