The End Of Healthy Utah? House Speaker Says Medicaid Bill Is Dead

Feb 25, 2015

Wednesday morning Gov. Gary Herbert seemed confident that his Medicaid plan, Healthy Utah, would be considered by the Utah State Legislature. Speaking with media, he said the plan had widespread support in the state, including from those in the health and business industries.

“Up and down the state of Utah the public polling shows 60 percent support or more. So the overwhelming support we’re receiving, which has kind of been spontaneous, it’s not anything that I’m orchestrating, but people out there recognize the common sense that we provide with the Healthy Utah approach,” Herbert said. “I hope the legislature is listening, they should represent the people, and we can certainly see where the people are at on this issue. I’m still cautiously optimistic that we will get something done.”

Touting Healthy Utah as a pilot program that could be opted out of at any time, the governor said he couldn’t see any reason for the plan not to pass.

“There’s a lot of speculation on this, of what will happen if we have a Healthy Utah program. So let’s test the theory and see what the truth is, as opposed to this wild speculation going on,” Herbert said. “Secretary [of Health and Human Services] Burwell said, ‘We’ll work with you on capping.’ They certainly have given us every opportunity and it will be in writing that we can get out at any time. There’s no reason to think we’ll be locked into anything.”

Despite the governor’s positive outlook, Wednesday afternoon the leader of Utah's House of Representatives said his chamber will not consider the plan because there's no support for it.

Republican House Speaker Greg Hughes told reporters that because Herbert's plan has no chance, he doesn't want to hear it just for "political pageantry."

Hughes made the comments hours after Herbert's plan earned approval in the state Senate on a 17-11 vote.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.