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Governor Herbert Unveils Health Plan Details

Andrea Smardon
Governor Gary Herbert assembled a group of influential Utahns to reveal the details of his Healthy Utah plan.

Governor Gary Herbert officially unveiled his plan Thursday to close the coverage gap and help low income Utahns get health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act.

For his announcement at the Capitol, Governor Herbert was flanked by prominent Utahns, including business leaders, healthcare professionals, advocates for the poor, along with leaders from Salt Lake’s Roman Catholic diocese and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Herbert says he is not a fan of the Affordable Care Act, but that Utah has a responsibility to help those who can’t afford healthcare.

“Utah is known for being a caring community, we want to care for those who are less fortunate, those are most vulnerable amongst us in society. Turning a blind eye and doing nothing is not the Utah way,” Herbert says.

After months of negotiations with the feds, Herbert’s plan would allow about 95,000 low-income Utahns to use Medicaid dollars to buy health insurance on the private market. Those who can afford it, would be required to pay a portion of the costs for premiums and co-pays. Also unique in the Governor’s plan is a $50 co-pay for inappropriate emergency room visits. The governor has a tentative deal with the federal government but Utah's GOP-controlled Legislature must still approve it.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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