Utah Cares moves forward

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 UTAH) – Wednesday night the Governor’s Healthy Utah 2.0 plan failed in a 9-4 House Committee vote.

Governor Gary Herbert says the plan provides health insurance for nearly 126,000 Utahns.

The price tag for the state would have been $25 million dollars over two years.

The House Committee didn’t leave without an option to the insurance crisis.

“When this many people show up and the polls are so consistent in favor of this, this bill merits at least going to the House floor and frankly having each member of the House of Representatives have the opportunity to say if this is right or it is not,” Senator Brian Shiozawa (R) Salt Lake City.

Healthy Utah 2.0 was dissected by House members for and hour and a half.

The House of Representatives now will see HB 446 known as Utah Cares. That bill passed committee 9-4.

The bill will help 0-100% of those at the poverty level. Which could add up to 60,000 people in two years.

“I think the most important thing is that we still have a path forward,” says Representative Jim Dunnigan, (R) Taylorsville.

Thats what Kenna Arcury wants.
Her daughter is 26 and no longer covered by her parents insurance.

“She is the epitome of the gap,” says Arcury.

Her daughter may qualify to be one of those Medicaid recipients.
She takes 11 prescriptions.
But if she gets a job over the poverty level, she’ll be taken off Medicaid and put on the Primary Care Network. The problem being not all of her prescriptions will be covered.

“It will provide us with a temporary bit of health and get us a little further than we are now. But in the long run, I think they did a disservice to the state of Utah,” she adds.

If Utah Cares Passes the House of Representatives, It maybe stalled in the Senate.

“I studied the bill and there are some very positive aspects of that. But we need to work together. We need to come to a viable compromise. There is still work to be done,” says Sen. Shiozawa.

Gov. Gary R. Herbert, issued the following statement in response to the House Business and Labor Committee vote on Healthy Utah:

“Healthy Utah is the best plan for taxpayers and the most practical alternative to Medicaid expansion. There is sharp contrast in terms of cost and coverage between the plans supported by the House committee and the Senate. The governor looks forward to working with the Legislature on a solution that best protects the interests of the Utah taxpayer and provides necessary coverage for Utahns in need.”

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Utah Government Relations Director Brook Carlisle responded with the following statement:

“ACS CAN is disappointed in the House Business and Labor Committee decision to reject the Healthy Utah Plan and deny Utahns access to federal dollars already set aside to increase health coverage for hard-working, low-income Utah families. By turning down millions of dollars in federal funding already set aside for the state, the Utah House of Representatives is denying 95,000 uninsured Utahns access to lifesaving preventive care and treatments for cancer and other serious diseases as provided by Governor Herbert’s Healthy Utah Plan.

“Increasing access to health care through the Healthy Utah Plan is an uniquely Utah solution that creates affordable health coverage options through the private health insurance market, saving lives and reducing health care costs in the state. Adopting the Healthy Utah Plan would ensure that thousands of families across the state would be able to see a doctor regularly, and receive screening tests such as mammograms and colon cancer screenings, enhancing the likelihood of detecting diseases such as cancer at an earlier and more curable stage.

“We strongly urge the Utah House of Representatives to reconsider its decision to reject the Healthy Utah Plan. Families across the state need the security of knowing they have access to proven cancer screenings and treatments they could otherwise not afford. It is undeniable that the Healthy Utah Plan provides the House of Representatives with the lowest-cost, highest-benefit legislative option to save the most lives while returning hundreds of millions of federal taxpayer dollars to the state.

“Now is the time to cast asides political differences and take the necessary legislative action to provide coverage to Utah families through the Healthy Utah Plan, leveraging federal taxpayer dollars recipients have already paid into the system.”

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