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Herbert: Healthcare Status Quo 'Not Acceptable'

Utah Republican Gov. Gary Herbert is calling the current healthcare status under the Affordable Care Act is unacceptable, adding that he is confident that the current Congress can replace President Barack Obama’s signature law with a better alternative.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Herbert claimed that Utahns now have fewer healthcare provider options than they did before the ACA and that insurance premiums in the state have increased by nearly a third.

“I expect that the Republican side of the aisle will find ways to compromise and hopefully bring some Democrats along with them. The status quo is not acceptable, it is not sustainable,” Herbert said. “In Utah right now, 13 of our 29 counties only have one provider that stayed around. They’ve been losing too much money. Our insurance premiums have increased by nearly 30 percent across the board. Medicaid is becoming a budget-buster for the states.”

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, over 197,000 Utahns are enrolled in insurance plans. The number of enrollees increased 12 percent since this time last year.

Herbert said that he is confident Congressional Republicans will continue to perfect the proposed replacement healthcare law.

“It’s a complex issue. I know that it’s already come out and even some Republicans don’t like it, Democrats don’t like it. Some think it’s okay, some think it needs improvement. To me, this is probably just a starting point on the discussion,” he said. “It took us about 16 months to have the original introduction of the Affordable Care Act until it passed. It’s going to take us more than a day to analyze what this first proposal is from the Republican side of the aisle.”

Last March, the Utah Legislature approved a modest Medicaid expansion to include 16,000 more people.