Utah Senate Democrats respond to Federal Government’s denial of Medicaid expansion waivers

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Thousands of Utah families may become eligible for Medicaid coverage because the federal government refuses to issue waivers required by Senate Bill 96.

That was a scaled down version of Medicaid expansion passed by the Legislature this year to replace the full expansion that voters mandated by passing Proposition 3 last November.

To enact S.B. 96, Utah planned to obtain waivers to have the feds pay 90 percent of the costs instead of the current 70 percent.

The bill included a fallback position of reverting to the full Medicaid expansion if those waivers are denied and late Friday night the Trump administration shot the waivers down. Governor Gary Herbert and Republican Legislative leaders claimed they were “deeply disappointed” by the denial.

On Sunday, Utah Senate Democrats issued the following statement:

“Last November, Utah’s voters passed Proposition 3, granting full Medicaid expansion to Utah’s families earning 138% of the federal poverty level or less ($26,900 for a family of three). The voters of this state made it clear that it was their will to close the coverage gap affecting 80,000 Utahns. The passage of Prop 3 was a clear message that the time had come for full Medicaid expansion. Despite this, the Legislature passed SB96. During the debate over this bill, the Senate Democrats stood firmly on the side of voters and made it clear that any attempt to replace Prop 3 with a substitute that required a series of unprecedented waivers was certain to be unsuccessful.

It has been confirmed that, as predicted by our caucus and so many others, Utah’s waiver application has been denied by the Trump administration. The time has come to respect the voters’ intent by implementing the fallback provisions in SB96 as quickly as possible.”

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