Vox has reported that although the people of Utah voted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act last November, the Republican legislature is backpedaling on the voter-approved plan.
The Republican legislature has passed a bill that would replace the voter-approved plan with another, more limited version. The new version would spend more money and cover fewer people. The bill passed in both of the chambers and Republican Governor Gary Herbert is now expected to sign off.
These lawmakers are taking a gamble that they will be the first state to be given Trump’s approval for a partial Medicaid expansion. If Trump does reject the GOP partial expansion, the original, full Medicaid expansion would take effect instead.
Those who support the expansion are condemning the Republicans for their plan after the voters of Utah decisively chose to expand Medicaid and health coverage to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which is approximately $16,800 for an individual. In the original plan, 150,000 people would have been covered.
“The legislature is trampling on the clear will of voters,” Jonathan Schleifer, executive director of the Fairness Project, which helped push the ballot referendum, said.
The new legislation would extend Medicaid eligibility up to only 100 percent of the poverty level instead of 138 percent. In the original plan, the state would have paid 10% with the federal government covering the remaining cost, but in the new plan the state will pay 30%. More, in the new plan, 60,000 fewer people would be covered.
GOP legislators in Utah are confident that Trump will sign off on their new plan.