On Friday afternoon, the Utah State House of Representatives passed SB 96, Senator Allen Christensen's Proposition 3 Medicaid expansion bill with a vote of 56 to 19. It will now move on to the Senate for a vote on Monday, and to the Governor's desk shortly thereafter.
Changes to the bill were made on the floor during a lot of intense debate and public outcry in the Capitol. Revisions were made to do the following:
- Implement Medicaid expansion to 100% of the federal poverty level as soon as possible with a federal match rate of 70%/30%
- Apply for an 1115 waiver for a work reporting requirement
- Apply for an 1115 waiver to enhance that match rate to 90%/10%
- In January 2020, if the enhanced match rate waiver is not approved, then HB210 (Rep. Ray Ward's bill) will be implemented and Utah will expand to 138%
Although, it is disappointing that the will of the people has been relegated to a backup plan, and Medicaid expansion was not achieved in the way we intended through Proposition 3,
We feel hope with SB96 as it was revised.
We are grateful to House Democrats, Representative Ray Ward, and all of the Utahns who reached out to their legislators, who fought hard to eliminate the repeal provisions in the bill and ensure
a backup plan that includes a full Medicaid expansion to 138% of the federal poverty level was included.
Additionally, we are hopeful because with the passing of this bill,
Utah will finally close the coverage gap.
This would never have happened had it not been for 6 years of work, including a successful ballot initiative. We caused a sea-change around Medicaid expansion, and
every person who gains coverage now will do so because of a coalition of healthcare advocates and 53% of Utah voters.
The work is not done and we will continue to fight bad policies like caps and work reporting requirements. We will keep working toward including the full expansion population, and reducing out of pocket costs for folks on the ACA exchanges.
This has been a long battle, with many ups and downs over the years. This vote is simultaneously a painful loss, and a step forward toward finally putting Medicaid expansion into action and getting low income people the healthcare they need.
Take a moment to feel your anger and hurt and disappointment— but also try to feel proud. We fought as hard as we possibly could, and
a lot of Utahns will soon be eligible for care for the first time because of our efforts
and the way we changed the conversation around expanded healthcare access.
Now, we move forward toward April 1st and getting as many people enrolled as quickly as possible!