Utah will join the growing list of red states opting into Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.
Governor Gary Herbert said Thursday that the state would expand Medicaid coverage under the health law. The governor had previously refrained from opting in.
“Doing nothing … I’ve taken off the table. Doing nothing is not an option,” Herbert said at his monthly news conference, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Many of the 407,000 uninsured Utahns would be newly able to access health insurance under the law. Nearly half of the state’s uninsured nonelderly are eligible for financial assistance, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report.
However, failing to expand Medicaid in the state was causing 58,000—or 14 percent of the uninsured—to fall into a coverage gap, the report says. These individuals had incomes too high to qualify for traditional Medicaid, but too low to be eligible for federal subsidies on the ACA exchanges.
“That’s not right, it’s not fair, and I’m going to work with the Legislature to find a solution to that problem,” Herbert said. “We have 45 days and we will have a solution by the end of this session.”
The governor is considering two expansion plans offered by the state legislature, both of which involve using the Medicaid dollars toward private plans. A similar strategy to be implemented in Arkansas has been approved by the administration.
Pressure is increasing on Republican governors who have thus far declined to expand Medicaid in their states, denying coverage to large numbers of low-income residents. Taxpayers still end up paying for the expansion, but those in non-expanding states do not reap the benefits.
Utah will be the 26th state, along with D.C., to opt in to Medicaid expansion.
- 1 Only the Margin Seems in Doubt in the Presidential Race
- 2 The Late-Breaking Democratic House Targets
- 3 Great Democratic Hopes Energize Quiet Faithful in Missouri
- 4 Will Congress Try to Rein in Obamacare Premiums?
- 5 Smart Ideas: Ken Bone Revealed a Serious Policy Divide, and Elizabeth Warren Seeks a Co-Presidency
What We're Following See More »
Twenty-three members of Congress "on Thursday asked the Justice Department to clarify how a looming rule change to the government's hacking powers could impact privacy rights of innocent Americans. The change, due to take place on December 1, would let judges issue search warrants for remote access to computers located in any jurisdiction, potentially including foreign countries. Magistrate judges can normally only order searches within the jurisdiction of their court, which is typically limited to a few counties."
"Hillary Clinton’s campaign announced that her campaign and joint fundraising committees raised $101 million in the first 19 days of October, giving her committees $153 million in cash on hand." Her campaign itself has about $62 million on hand. The campaign said the average donation was $50.
Hillary Clinton appeared on the campaign trail for the first time with Michelle Obama on Thursday night. At the joint appearance in North Carolina, Mrs. Obama said, “When you hear folks talking about a global conspiracy and saying that this election is rigged, understand that they are trying to get you to stay home. They are trying to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter, that the outcome has already been determined and that you shouldn’t even bother to make your voice heard.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that "there was “precedent” for a Supreme Court with fewer than nine justices—appearing to suggest that the blockade on nominee Merrick Garland could last past the election." Speaking to reporters in Colorado, Cruz said: "I would note, just recently, that Justice Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That’s a debate that we are going to have.”