How much money is the state able and willing to spend to help thousands of Utah's uninsured poor get health coverage?
That's the question Utah lawmakers will be asking next week as they dive into competing proposals to expand Medicaid in the state.
Rather than having more people on Medicaid, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert wants to use federal money to help about 90,000 people get private insurance. Herbert, a Republican, has negotiated a tentative deal with the Obama administration for such a plan, but he needs
Utah lawmakers to approve.
So far, they've resisted it.
This past week, Herbert continued his sales pitch, telling reporters Thursday that his plan will return more money to Utah than the limited plans some Republicans prefer. Herbert said those pared-down plans are "better than nothing, but it's not a lot better."
Here's a look at how Medicaid and other issues may play out:
A bill containing Herbert's plan finally debuted at the Legislature on Friday, allowing it to move forward for formal votes as early as next week.
Senate Republicans plan to discuss the bill during a closed-door meeting Tuesday. They'll also discuss scaled-back plans from the Republican-controlled House that would cost less and cover fewer people, and a proposal from Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, that would fully expand Medicaid as envisioned under President Barack Obama's healthcare law.
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said Senate Republicans should come out of the Tuesday meeting with a good idea of which plan they're willing to back.
In the House, Republican leaders say they're working to negotiate with the governor's office, but they're also pursuing other options.
Taylorsville Republican Rep. Jim Dunnigan said Thursday that the House GOP feels the governor's plan covers more people than necessary.