Public comment period now open for Utah’s Medicaid expansion waiver

Local Politics
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Salt Lake City, Utah- (News4Utah) – A plan passed by the legislature this year to expand Medicaid in Utah is moving forward, and now is your chance to sound off.

The state is seeking a waiver from the federal government to implement the unique plan.

Part of that process includes a public comment period, which is open now.

Representative Robert Spendlove’s bill extends coverage to Utahns who live at, or below 100% of the federal poverty level.

“We estimate that will cover an additional 70,000 to 90,000 individuals,” said State Medicaid Director Nate Checketts.

The bill seeks a 90/10 split with the federal government, and includes work requirements for participants and enrollment caps.

It’s been a controversial fight in our state. Some say this step doesn’t go far enough.

“I think we need a full Medicaid expansion. I know that’s not where we are, but work requirements are concerning. I think sometimes penalizing, or putting those types of burdens on some individuals that are struggling may not be the solution,” said Senator Luz Escamilla, (D) Salt Lake City.

Others says it’s a fiscally responsible way to make sure Utahns have access to healthcare.

“I think this was a creative solution. To find Utah solutions to Utah problems,” said Salt Lake County Recorder Adam Gardiner.

Now, the Utah Department of Health wants to know what you think.

“There’s an opportunity for the public to either go online and comment, or to send us an email or mail in their comments.” said Checketts.

Two public meetings will also be held. On May 11, 2018 from 4-6 pm, and May 17, 2018 from 2-4 pm. Both at the Department of Health.

“We look to see where there’s areas where we are in agreement with what the comments are saying, and we can revise our request before we submit it to the federal government, and often do, based on those comments,” said Checketts.

The public comment period is open through May 31, 2018. The state hopes to submit the request to the feds by June 30, 2018.

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