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.
When Governor Gary Herbert laid out his Healthy Utah plan Thursday he said he was confident that it would get support from the state legislature as well as the federal government. But the governor’s proposal to accept federal money to help low-income Utahns buy health insurance may meet some resistance from Republicans in the state House…. especially the House speaker.
The Utah House of Representatives opened this year’s legislative session with some bold remarks from Republican Speaker Rebecca Lockhart, challenging Governor Gary Herbert.
Just like speeches from years’ past, Speaker Lockhart railed against the over-reach of the federal government, and insisted that Utah resist. But this time, she targeted Governor Herbert who has recently said that he favors some limited expansion of Medicaid in the state.
State House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart opened this year’s legislative session by calling on Utah to become less reliant on federal dollars.
Lockhart told House members that gridlock in Congress has a direct and immediate effect on Utah.
“It’s become increasingly apparent that the action or inaction of the federal government profoundly influences our success. We must have or implement a plan to get the state of Utah less reliant on federal revenue,” said Lockhart.