Governor Herbert meets face to face with uninsured Utahns as he pushes his Healthy Utah Plan

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – Governor Gary Herbert took the fight over Medicaid expansion in Utah to the front lines Thursday.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – Governor Gary Herbert took the fight over Medicaid expansion in Utah to the front lines Thursday.

He met with some of the nearly 60,000 Utahns who would benefit from his Healthy Utah Plan.

One place they turn for limited care is the Fourth Street Clinic, where 78% of clients have no coverage.

"The facts of the matter are there are people that need help and charity is a part of that. We see that here at this clinic," said Herbert.

The state’s chief executive toured the clinic and hosted a panel discussion on his alternative solution to Medicaid expansion.

He spoke face to face with those who are falling through the cracks, like former drug addict, Rachael Santizo.

"I've been a client here for about two years and I’m here to show recovery is possible. I'm a recovering addict, I’ve been clean almost two years now," said Santizo.

Avery Pizzuto, 14, whose mom is pushing off cancer treatment.

"I would just love to be able to know that she will be safe and not have to worry about if she is ok or not, because she's the only thing I have in my life that she will always be there for me," said Pizzuto.

And Stacy Davis-Stanford, who is confined to a wheelchair after a car accident.

"I have so much to offer to this world and to the Utah community, but I can only imagine how much more I could accomplish if I had access to even the most basic healthcare," said Davis-Stanford.

All of whom would be covered under the Healthy Utah plan.

It’s a three year pilot program that would use $258,000,000 in the form of a federal block grant to provide 111,000 Utahns with a private insurance plan.

This Utah solution, as the Governor calls it would require the federal government to sign off, but first he has to convince lawmakers here at home.

"We'll keep talking about that, I think there is a lot of people starting to understand that's a rational, realistic thought process."

The Healthy Utah plan is one of three options being considered at the Capitol.

The Senate plan is similar to the Governor's, but the one in the House is very different.

It refuses to accept federal funds to expand.

Negotiations are ongoing as all sides try to reach an agreement.

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