Some healthcare advocates were disappointed Wednesday to find out that Governor Gary Herbert did not include funding for the expansion of Medicaid in his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Governor Herbert spoke very little about healthcare in his budget presentation except to say that he is proceeding with caution.
“We have uncertainty in the marketplace, not only from the fiscal cliff so-called, but from the implementation of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act,” Herbert said, “Unfortunately we have many questions which are still not answered, and yet we’re at the stage of having to implement things.”
Matthew Slonaker is Medicaid Policy Director for the Utah Health Policy Project. He was disappointed, but not surprised that the Governor did not include any state or federal appropriations for an expansion of the Medicaid population.
“Conspicuously absent is funding for a Medicaid expansion scenario, however it doesn’t dishearten advocates in trying to make sure that it ends up in the budget,” said Slonaker.
The state legislature could still decide to expand Medicaid in the upcoming session. To put pressure on lawmakers, an advocacy group called Utahns for The Medicaid Expansion have started a petition at SignOn.org.