Health Care Advocates Respond to Two Proposition 3 Repeal Bills
Medicaid expansion is set to begin enrollment April 1st for the people waiting for care, but now faces legislative threats
January 26, 2019

Matt Slonaker

SALT LAKE— Bill language was made available yesterday for SB 96, Sponsored by Senator Allen Christensen, and SB 97, Sponsored by Senator Jacob Anderegg, and both seek to overturn the will of the people by repealing the full Medicaid expansion under Proposition 3.

The bill from Senator Anderegg is a clear repeal, and despite misleading language and attempts to minimize the impact of the changes, so is Senator Christensen's.

Although some legislators claim SB 96 is not a repeal of Proposition 3, and call it an "adjustment", the reality of the proposal would overturn the legislation approved by voters, and would delay implementation-- meaning that tens of thousands of Utahns who finally had a light at the end of the tunnel, will still remain trapped in the coverage gap rather than becoming eligible for care on April 1st as outlined in the initiative's legislation.

SB 96 relies on a lengthy federal waiver approval process, very likely to end in denial. It repeals the intent of Proposition 3, to fully expand Medicaid by April 1, 2019.
Matt Slonaker, executive director at UHPP, said "The first few pages of this new bill show that Senator Christensen's plan strikes out huge swaths of Proposition 3. This plan adds provisions that would indefinitely delay enrollment and risk legal challenge. Utah voters are smart, they are informed, and they chose to support full Medicaid expansion without caps, red tape, or delays. These bills that would repeal Proposition 3 are harmful to Utahns and run contrary to the will of the people."

UHPP's health policy analyst, Stacy Stanford, added "There are thousands of vulnerable Utahns waiting to be able to finally access necessary healthcare on April 1st. Delaying implementation of Proposition 3 and relying on a waiver from the federal government before going forward with enrollment will result in real harm to real people who will be forced to continue waiting before they are allowed to be insured."

The people of Utah made an informed decision on November 6th, and they chose full Medicaid expansion. The legislature had their chance last year with their HB 472 partial expansion waiver, which CMS declined to approve.

Now, Utah voters have stepped up and opted to expand Medicaid up to 138% FPL, in accordance with federal law, and even elected to enact a small non-food sales tax increase to fund it. The Utah Department of Health is planning to go forward with Proposition 3. Struggling Utahns are counting on access to care April 1st. Utah has decided.

Passing SB 96 or SB 97, and therefore repealing Proposition 3, would betray the Utah voters and directly harm low-income people in the coverage gap. If there are truly cost concerns, there are ways to address future expenditures without sacrificing coverage and care.

For more information:
Matt Slonaker, Executive Director

Stacy Stanford, Policy Analyst