Utah's HB 472 is a Medicaid expansion plan destined for denial

Today's Arkansas expansion waiver denial is a clear indicator that Utah's plan is a bridge to nowhere

Monday March 5, 2018
CONTACT: Stacy Stanford
Utah Health Policy Project
Cell: 801-718-6130
Salt Lake City |March 5. 2018

The House Business and Labor committee voted last week to advance a plan to apply for a Medicaid waiver with very little chance of federal approval. HB 472 is Representative Robert Spendlove’s plan to expand Medicaid, with the condition that Utah will receive the 90% federal match rate with an expansion limited to 95% fpl, instead of the 133% required by existing Affordable Care Act (ACA) rules. This lower income threshold would push consumers over the poverty line into the ACA’s individual market, which costs the federal government significantly more money, because private insurance- like the plans offered on the healthcare.gov marketplace- is much more expensive than Medicaid.

The Trump Administration has indicated that they intend to be consistent in Medicaid waiver approvals—if they agree to allow, or not allow, one state to expand to only 95%, then they intend to grant other states the same decision.

Today, after more than a year of waiting, Arkansas received an answer on their HB 472-lookalike waiver that would limit expansion to those below the poverty line—and they were not approved.
This is a clear signal to Utah that if we proceed with HB 472 that we will meet the same fate.

“We have been waiting for the Arkansas decision, knowing that it would act as a bellwether for the rest of the nation. Based on Arkansas, we have confirmation that HB 472 will not be approved by the Trump Administration”, said Matt Slonaker, executive director of Utah Health Policy Project. “Passing HB 472 is like building a bridge to nowhere.”

Media Contacts:
Stacy Stanford
Health Policy Analyst, Utah Health Policy Project
Cell: 801-718-6130

Matt Slonaker
Executive Director, Utah Health Policy Project
Cell: 406-360-2981
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