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Herbert: More Flexibility Would Solve Medicaid Crisis
The Governor's Mansion in Salt Lake City.

Gov. Gary Herbert used his monthly press conference on Thursday to express his frustration concerning Medicaid expansion. UtahAccess+, the end product of a summer’s worth of negotiations between the state’s legislative and executive leaders, failed to clear a Republican caucus meeting last week.

Herbert said that he still stands by his original Healthy Utah proposal, claiming it was the state’s best option, yet.

“Well, I’m not happy from the standpoint of I had a good proposal out there in Healthy Utah,” Herbert said. “I think, all things considered, it is the most commonsense approach to addressing the issue of healthcare to our most needy amongst us, those who are most vulnerable. It respects the taxpayer and is a good commonsense solution.”

Under the ACA, Utah must expand Medicaid to cover its citizens earning up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Line. Herbert said that a little more flexibility on the part of the federal government would go a long way to help resolve the issue.  

“If Washington, the Department of Health, and the Obama Administration would say, ‘we’ll give you the 90-10 split, you’ll only have to take care of up zero to 100 percent [of FPL],’ everybody else above 100 percent can go to the federal exchange. They’re covered,” he said. “[The federal government] could give us that little adjustment—and there’s no reason under the law why they can’t do it—and we’d have something resolved tomorrow.”

After the failure of UtahAccess+, supporters pointed blame at state Speaker of the House Greg Hughes for insisting that 38 GOP House members be on board before bringing the legislation up for a vote.