Democrats in the Utah Legislature submitted a letter to colleagues in the Health System Reform Task Force Monday, recommending that the state expand Medicaid. And they say the sooner it happens the better.
The legislature’s new Senate Minority Leader Gene Davis of Salt Lake City told KUER that expanding Medicaid eligibility can help improve access to health insurance for Utahns and can save the state money.
“We believe that Medicaid expansion is very important especially with the new populations that will come in – that overall there will be savings to the state,” said Davis, “But we need to do that in a comprehensive way and make sure that it fits the citizens of the state of Utah.”
The Utah Department of Health is working on a cost-benefit analysis of a Medicaid expansion due out in late January, but Davis said if the state wants to maintain control, it should move sooner rather than later.
“What we need to do is embrace what’s coming down from the feds and find a way that we really can make it work for the citizens of the state of Utah,” said Davis, “If we only become reactive to it, there we’re just going to follow somebody else’s lead.”
Republicans lawmakers, including Governor Gary Herbert, have said they want to wait on the decision to gather as much information as possible.