Governor Herbert Signs HB67, Responds to Passage of Federal Healthcare Reform

SALT LAKE CITY – Governor Gary R. Herbert has signed HB67, which requires the Utah Department of Health to carefully analyze federal healthcare reform efforts prior to implementation and to report to the Legislature potential impacts on Utahns and to the state’s own healthcare reform efforts.

“States must take reasoned, proactive steps to keep themselves in control of their own reform efforts,” Governor Herbert said. “With last night’s passage of federal healthcare reform legislation, it is more important than ever that we stand up to the federal government. States simply cannot afford an unfunded mandate of this magnitude that creates yet another unmanageable federal entitlement program.”

“In addition, every Utahn should be concerned about the impact of this legislation on our economic recovery, the chilling effect on job creation for small businesses, and the added burden to an already unacceptable and growing national debt.”

One possible response to the expected signing of the legislation by President Barack Obama is a lawsuit against the federal government, such as that proposed Monday by Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.

“In light of the concerns shared by many people in Utah and around the country, it is entirely appropriate that the Attorney General and his counterparts across the nation consider every option on this issue,” Governor Herbert said. “A lawsuit puts into action concerns over a federal government overreach that is unprecedented and possibly unconstitutional.”

Of particular concern to the Governor is the possibility that the federal legislation will supersede Utah’s own healthcare reform efforts, which have been ongoing for several years and are beginning to show great promise toward increasing transparency, access and choice in Utah’s healthcare system.

“I have consistently said that one-size-fits-all federal solutions do not address states’ unique circumstances, on this issue or any others,” Governor Herbert said. “We must recognize the differences that exist throughout the country and develop customized solutions to healthcare reform that addresses the needs of our citizens.”