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Utah GOP Leaders Announce Medicaid Expansion Concept

Utah Republican leaders announced Friday that they have found consensus around a conceptual framework for Medicaid expansion.  A group of six state leaders have been meeting since the close of the legislative Session to find a resolution to the 'coverage gap' for low income residents. House Majority leader Jim Dunnigan says they now have the bare bones of a plan to cover the population up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

“We’ve tried to put mechanisms in place to protect the taxpayers, respect that we’re using taxpayer dollars, provide some certainty in liability to the state, and yet still get the job done,” Dunnigan says. “So, I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to get this accomplished. We’ve certainly made some great progress in getting consensus in what we want to do.”

Dunnigan says there are many details yet to work out, but the group agreed that they would protect the state from cost overruns through a funding model that allows providers and benefactors of Medicaid dollars to pay their share. He says Medicaid dollars would be used to help pay for employer-based coverage and to help people buy insurance on the private market. Dunnigan says the next step is to hold meetings with colleagues in the legislature to discuss the details, but he does not have a timetable for a complete plan.

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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