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Gov. Herbert Criticizes House Leadership for Refusing to Debate his Healthy Utah Plan

Governor Gary Herbert says he’s still holding out hope that his amended Healthy Utah plan will be considered by the state House of Representatives, even though House Speaker Greg Hughes says it has no chance of passing.

Governor Herbert says he’s alarmed that the House will not consider his health plan in a bill passed by the Senate. At his KUED monthly press conference, he said House leadership has derailed on one of the most important issues facing the legislature this year.

“We would hope that common sense would prevail in the House, and there would be an opportunity for them to have an honest and robust and transparent discussion and debate, getting public input and then take a vote,” Herbert said. “That’s how the process is supposed to work, and I think the public is served when the process works. The public is not served when the process in fact is short-circuited.”

House Speaker Greg Hughes has said that a vote taken last week in a closed-door GOP caucus, showed that the Governor’s Healthy Utah Plan did not have the votes required to pass in the House. Even with amendments to the bill limiting it to a two-year pilot program, Hughes told reporters that he will not allow the Healthy Utah legislation to come to the House floor for a vote. He says there are too many other important issues to be considered in the limited time left of the session.

“We’re open to ideas of bringing something out, but we need something that has some viability,” Hughes said. “If we’re not pursuing a bill for the purposes of becoming law, then I don’t know what we’re here for.”

Governor Herbert says if the general session comes to a close without approval for a Medicaid plan, he’s considering all options, including taking executive action that would circumvent the legislature.

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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