Governor Gary Herbert says he is very close to an agreement with the federal government on his proposal to provide health insurance for those under the poverty line.
Coming out of his meeting with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell in Washington, Governor Herbert says he’s gotten about 95 percent of what he’s asked for, and he’s optimistic that a final agreement should be reached shortly.
“They’re giving us maximum flexibility – certainly more flexibility than has ever been awarded before,” Herbert says. “They told us today that what we’re offering the state of Utah in these negotiations has not been done or offered at any other state in the union.”
A sticking point in the negotiations has been whether the feds would allow Utah to include a work requirement for those receiving health insurance. Herbert says they’ve found an approach that both can agree to.
“We’ve couched it now as a benefit in addition to healthcare,” Herbert says. “If you’re able-bodied and unemployed, you ought to in addition to get some help in finding work. And we’re going to add that as a benefit. That seems to be a more appealing way to address this issue. It gives us the same outcome which is that people who are unemployed, we’re going to help them get employed.”
Herbert says both sides will work out the details over the next two to three weeks. He expects to have a final plan he can present to the state legislature at that time.