Utah Lawmakers React To Republican Health Care Bill

Mar 13, 2017

The Republican replacement to the Affordable Care Act was released last week. It’s called the American Health Care Act. Since then, several Utah lawmakers have weighed in on the proposed legislation.

Republican Senator Mike Lee is perhaps the loudest opponent of the GOP health care bill among Utah lawmakers. He expressed his concerns on Fox News last week.

"This is not the repeal bill that we’ve been waiting for for all these years. This is a huge opportunity that’s been missed, and it’s a step in the wrong direction," Lee said. 

Lee said like the ACA, the new bill was “crafted by a small handful of lawmakers” and “rushed through without adequate input from the American people.”

"I’d rather see us repeal with one fell swoop and then move forward with a step by step process to bring about the reforms we need," he said. 

Governor Herbert was more optimistic. After visiting with President Trump and Vice President Pence recently, he said the new proposal would allow for more state control to address the rising costs of healthcare.

"I like the fact that we need to push the pause button and reset it and say look, let’s come together on something that will actually work and is sustainable. I mean, everybody ought to understand: sustainable, sustainable. That’s the word. It’s got to be sustainable," Herbert said. 

As the Utah legislative session came to a close, Republican Speaker of the House Greg Hughes said with the proposed changes to the healthcare system he was happy Utah hadn’t expanded the state’s Medicaid program.

"I like where Utah is that we’re not exposed to a risk like that where we would have provided healthcare that we would be taking away very quickly that people have come to depend on," Hughes said. 

Lawmakers in Congress are currently considering the American Health Care Act in several committees. If it clears those hurdles, the full House of Representatives will have a chance to debate and vote on the legislation.