Healthy Utah Plan

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Some influential Utah lawmakers delivered a blow Thursday to Governor Gary Herbert’s plan to expand health coverage to low-income Utahns. In a motion led by Republicans, the state Health Reform Task Force voted not to recommend the governor’s plan to the legislature. Instead, they recommended their own plan.

Andrea Smardon

  When Governor Gary Herbert announced the details of his Healthy Utah plan last week, the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and several other religious leaders stood with him.

But some members of the Utah legislature say there’s more than one way to do what those religious leaders are asking – provide health care to needy people in Utah. 

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Governor Gary Herbert officially unveiled his plan Thursday to close the coverage gap and help low income Utahns get health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Governor Gary Herbert has concluded negotiations with the Obama administration on his Healthy Utah Plan, but that doesn’t mean it will necessarily take effect in Utah. The state legislature still has to weigh in, and lawmakers might be hatching a different plan.

KUED

  Utah Governor Gary Herbert says he’s finally worked out a deal with the Obama administration on the details of his Healthy Utah plan, but he still has to get it through the Utah legislature. 

Brian Grimmett / KUER

Governor Gary Herbert is still encountering resistance from fellow Republicans on his plan to provide health coverage to the poor. Utah Department of Health officials briefed a committee of state lawmakers Thursday on their negotiations in Washington. The Governor has said he is pleased with the outcome, but some conservative state lawmakers are still not sold on the plan to expand government assistance in Utah.

A new poll shows that Utahns don’t know very much about Governor Gary Herbert’s plan to deliver health insurance to low-income citizens. But when they learn more, they tend to support it. KUER’s Andrea Smardon took to the streets to see for herself what Utahns know and don’t know about healthcare decisions facing state lawmakers. 

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Some conservative lawmakers are still resisting an expansion of Medicaid in Utah, despite testimony from those who can’t afford health coverage and a new analysis showing the economic benefits of the governor’s Healthy Utah proposal.

Charlotte Lawrence tried to contain her emotion as she sat before the state’s health reform task force, with her children on either side. She explained that she is a single parent, working two full time jobs, and she has been diagnosed with cancer. She says she’s done all she can to provide for herself and her family, but it’s not enough.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Wearing fake grass skirts and plastic leis, health advocates took turns going under a limbo pole in front of House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart’s office Wednesday. The idea was to highlight the plight of Utahns who fall into the Medicaid coverage gap, and the pole was steadily lowered to represent each month this year that they have not been able to pay for healthcare. The mood was light, but Christine Stenquist quickly became emotional when she began talking about why she is taking part in this demonstration.

Brian Grimmett

Members of the National Governors Association have selected Governor Gary Herbert to be the group's vice chair for the next year.  The new role could help Herbert push his agenda even further.

Salt Lake County faces a budget shortfall and service cuts if the state doesn’t accept Medicaid funds from the federal government. The County Council will draft a letter at their meeting Tuesday urging state lawmakers to support the Governor’s Healthy Utah Plan, and to do it this summer before the County has to complete its budget. 

Democratic Salt Lake County Councilor Sam Granato was hoping the legislature would have made a decision by now on whether Utah should accept Medicaid funds to provide health coverage for more than 110,000 low-income Utahns.