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Democrats Call GOP Medicaid Plan a “Cop Out”

Andrea Smardon
Utah Senator Gene Davis (D-3) rejects the House GOP proposal and is sponsoring a bill for full Medicaid expansion.

Democrats are opposing a bill that would extend Medicaid benefits to a limited number of Utahns in poverty. They say it doesn’t go far enough, but the Republican plan doesn’t need support from the minority party to pass.

Members of the Utah House will soon be voting on a Republican sponsored bill that would extend Medicaid benefits to 16,000 Utahns in extreme poverty. State Democratic Party Chair Peter Corroon says it’s not enough.

“The people of Utah should not be content with accepting the crumbs that the GOP is handing down to them,” Corroon says. He says the bill leaves tens of thousands of Utahns in the coverage gap and rejects hundreds of millions of federal dollars that the state could get with a full Medicaid expansion. “Frankly, it’s an election year cop out. Eight months from now the Republicans will want to say we did something, but Democrats know full well the resources exist to expand this program to more Utahns.”

House Minority Leader Brian King says something is better than nothing, but he still doesn’t think he will vote for the measure.

“It’s such a waste of money and it’s so ideologically and politically driven, in terms of rejecting Medicaid expansion as envisioned by the Affordable Care Act, that it’s really hard for me to get past that,” King says. He says House Republicans have proceeded without consulting Democrats, and they don’t need to. If the bill can secure the support of 38 Republicans, that’s all the votes it needs to pass the body.

Governor Gary Herbert and Senate leaders have already indicated that they will likely support the House proposal.

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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