There are new talks between Utah's Republican governor, Gary Herbert, and GOP lawmakers about expanding Medicaid, but political observers are skeptical about the prospects for legislative approval.
Herbert's proposal, which would cover about 126,000 low-income adults, would ask healthcare providers to chip in funding to make up for when the federal government stops paying in 2016. Herbert has been in talks with the Obama administration about his plan, which has the backing of key GOP legislative leaders.
Josh Kanter, board president of the pro-expansion group Alliance for a Better Utah, said “there is real concern that the Legislature will continue to play games, and at this point, they're playing games with people's lives.”
But the Utah Hospital Association said its members would be willing to pay an assessment as long as other provider groups also contributed, said UHA President Greg Bell. “Everyone that's going to benefit needs to be at the table making some material contribution,” he said.
But the Utah Medical Association has voiced skepticism about the idea of doctors paying any type of assessment.
Herbert is considering calling a special session this year to vote on Medicaid expansion.