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Governor Herbert Looks Toward Middle Ground for Medicaid Expansion

File: Governor Gary Herbert

Governor Gary Herbert has still not made a decision about expanding Medicaid benefits, but at his monthly KUED news conference today he did shed some light on the decision making process.

For the past several months Governor Herbert has insisted that all options are still on the table when it comes to the expansion of Medicaid benefits, but his most recent comments suggest that he’s looking at finding some sort of middle ground.

“There’s no single answer," he says. "There’s no single solution. Government has a role to play, particular when it comes to safety net issues, but the private sector has a role to play too, charitable care is part of it. We can be more efficient in the delivery of services, in many instances, with private organizations as opposed to filtering money through a government organization that is not as effective in delivering services.”

There is no deadline for when Herbert has to make a decision, but after January 1st things get a little more complicated. If there is no solution by that date there could be a large number of Utahns who make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to qualify for a subsidized health plan on the federal marketplace. Herbert says he blames the Affordable Care Act for that problem.

“We are very concerned about anybody who’d be left in the cracks," he says. "There is kind of a donut hole, again the Affordable Care Act, when it was created, presupposed that the states would in fact take care of those below 100% of poverty. There’s a flaw in the Affordable Care Act. That’s probably no surprise to anybody who’s watched the rollout.”

Herbert called on leaders in both parties to stop the partisan politics and find ways to fix and improve the federal health care law.

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