A new bill being drafted for Utah’s upcoming legislative session would attempt to solve a complex problem in healthcare: expand Medicaid while Obamacare is being repealed.
According to Representative, Robert Spendlove, expanding Medicaid coverage to the 60,000 Utahns who are low-income but make too much money to qualify for Medicaid is not a partisan issue.
"The concern that many people have is how do we manage the programs. And how do we help those in need in a way that is fiscally sustainable," Spendlove says.
But Medicaid expansion under Governor Herbert’s 2014 Healthy Utah plan was blocked by Republican lawmakers.
With the likely repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Spendlove is drafting a new bill that would expand Medicaid under a block grant program, a possible alternative to the ACA that is being proposed by the Trump administration.
"Without the red tape, without the restrictions, without all the regulatory oversight that currently exists on Medicaid, states can be very innovative," Spendlove says.
He says that local control and innovation would allow Utah to lower costs and expand coverage, even if the new grant program means the state winds up getting less money than it does now.
With the future of healthcare a big unknown, Spendlove says his bill will be drafted and ready to go based on the priorities of the new administration.