Governor: We are “closer than ever” to solving Medicaid issue

Gov. Herbert announced Thursday that key players in a decision on providing health coverage to Utahns living in poverty would tackle Medicaid expansion issues by July 31st, after which he will call a special session to implement their recommendation.

The negotiations will include Gov. Herbert, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, House Speaker Greg Hughes, Sen. Brian Shiozawa and Rep. Jim Dunnigan. All stood with Gov. Herbert as he made the announcement during a press conference held hours before the 2015 General Session came to a close.

The governor’s Healthy Utah plan, which passed the Utah Senate and was backed by major business, religious, and health community leaders, never received a vote on the Utah House floor, but the House passed its own plan called Utah Cares.

The governor said it was important for the executive and legislative branches to collaborate and “finish this together” for the good of all Utahns.

“Something this important and this historical demands that we get it right and that we get it right together. The citizens of this great state expect that type of leadership,” he said.

Gov. Herbert was disappointed the session did not produce a resolution to the issue of Medicaid expansion, but told the crowd that more recent discussions have been “fruitful.”

“We are closer than we have ever been to solving this issue,” he said.

The governor anticipates there will be additional negotiations with the federal government to provide further certainty and sustainability in the process.

“I have given the Senate President and the Speaker my commitment to working productively with them to find a solution. And I reiterate that commitment to the people of our state,” he said.