Healthy Utah Plan gets support from advocates and senate committee

- SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) Advocates for Medicaid expansion exercised their right to participate in the political process on Capitol Hill.

They made their case for funding to the Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee Wednesday morning.

One by one they took the stand to make their voices heard.

Including a mother and student who falls into the coverage gap.

“I hope that you will consider the lives of Utahns who are working and going to school and who are one illness or accident away from catastrophe,” said Wendy Hendley.

The business community.

“Our community is stronger when we provide access to health coverage fro the poorest among us,” said Lane Beattie, CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber.

And the Episcopal Church.

“Medicaid expansion by any term or qualification is not a political issue that should be drawn in the sand. It is about people,” said Rev. Scott B. Hayashi.

All 24 people who took the stand told the committee they support the Healthy Utah Plan.

Healthy Utah is one of two bills being considered in the senate.

Senator Brian Shiozawa is the sponsor.

“This is the most significant thing we can do for patients and the people of the state of Utah in really years,” said Shiozawa, (R) Salt Lake City.

The other is Access to Care for the Medically Frail, sponsored by Senator Allen Christensen.

It would cover fewer people and cost less money.

Senator Christensen says he’s sponsoring his version of Medicaid expansion because there just isn’t enough to go around.

“I’ve got $100 million worth of requests sitting in my committee and there are not any of them that will get funded if we take it all for Healthy Utah,” said Christensen, (R) Ogden.

There was a new development on the funding front.

The Utah Hospital Association told the committee they are willing to chip in $25 million to help with the cost under certain circumstances.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed the Healthy Utah Bill 4-1.

It is now off to the full Senate for debate.


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