Medicaid expansion | KUER 90.1

Medicaid expansion

Stock photo of medical equipment on a table.

The federal government has given Utah’s “Fallback Plan” on Medicaid Expansion the go ahead, bringing a long and drawn-out process closer — though not all the way — to its end. 

Photo of online Medicaid application.
Renee Bright / KUER

Friday marked the beginning of open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. And this year, Utahns will have more options. 

Photo of medicaid form.
Renee Bright / KUER

The Utah Department of Health is holding public hearings this week on the latest installment of the state’s Medicaid expansion program. The move comes after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent out an informal rejection in July to several states considering plans like Utah’s, forcing state lawmakers to regroup. 

Photo of medicaid form.
Renee Bright / KUER

Medicaid, the low-income health insurance program, is once again at the forefront of the health care policy debate in Utah. Last week, Utah lawmakers received notice from officials with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that the state’s proposed partial expansion plan was unlikely to be approved by the Trump Administration. 

Photo of capitol facade.
Brian Albers / KUER

Updated 2:30 p.m. MDT 7/27/19 


The Utah Legislature’s partial Medicaid expansion plan has been blocked by the Trump administration, state officials confirmed Saturday.

Photo of medicaid form.
Renee Bright / KUER

Utah’s Medicaid expansion plan had a final public hearing Monday night in Salt Lake City. After the window closes for online comments at the end of the month, officials with the health department will then submit the proposed changes to the federal government for approval as a waiver.

Photo of medicaid form. / jwblinn

The public will have a chance to weigh in on the last step towards implementing the Utah Legislature’s Medicaid expansion plan during a hearing on Thursday afternoon.

Renee Bright / KUER

Utah’s long waited Medicaid expansion proposal will move ahead. Officials received word from the federal government today that the state has received approval with the first stage of its Medicaid expansion plan, which is slated to start on Monday, April 1.

Photo of medicaid form. / jwblinn

Enrollment for Utah’s long-awaited Medicaid expansion starts in less than two weeks. State officials are optimistic that things will go smoothly but they’re still waiting for approval of their plan from the federal government.

Cory Dinter / KUER

Gov. Gary Herbert signed into law a bill amending Utah’s voter-approved Medicaid expansion on Monday, hours after the state Senate passed it and despite criticism from Democrats that it ignores the will of voters.

Following the 22-7 vote , Herbert quickly signed the controversial bill as the state races to get federal approval to start expanding Medicaid to meet an April 1 start date planned for Proposition 3.

Erik Neumann / KUER

The Utah House of Representatives passed the latest version of a scaled-back Medicaid expansion bill on Friday, giving a clear path for the proposal to become law, and supersede Proposition 3, which voters passed last November.

Erik Neumann / KUER

There’s general consensus between policy makers, elected officials and health care advocates that Medicaid has a big price tag. But what are the actual costs? Bryce Ward aimed to find out. He’s an economist in Missoula, Montana who published a study of the first two years of Medicaid expansion in that state. KUER’s Erik Neumann spoke with Ward about what lessons might be used in Utah.

Rep. Jim Dunnigan
Cory Dinter For KUER

A Utah House committee on Wednesday narrowly approved a controversial overhaul of voter-backed Proposition 3 to expand Medicaid, a potential sign of trouble for the legislation.

Photo of Allen Christensen.
Cory Dinter for KUER

State Senators at the Capitol on Monday passed the latest version of a plan to change voter-approved Medicaid expansion, known as Proposition 3.

Austen Diamond for KUER

The Medicaid expansion plan Republican legislators are working on as an alternative to voter-approved Proposition 3 could cost the state as much as $71.8 million in its first 18 months, according to a new legislative fiscal analysis.

Photo of faith leaders.
Erik Neumann / KUER

Nearly two dozen faith leaders gathered at the state Capitol on Thursday to oppose legislative efforts to change Proposition 3. They were part of an even larger group of religious and community leaders — which did not include leaders from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — who signed a letter to state officials urging them to oppose any legislation to change voter-approved Medicaid expansion under Proposition 3.

Nicole Nixon / KUER

As the annual legislative session kicked off Monday, hundreds of Utahns descended on the state Capitol to protest two proposals that would alter or completely undo a voter initiative to expand Medicaid.

Year-end picture
Renee Bright / KUER

It was a year of big — big fires, big ballot initiatives and big political upsets — that collectively defined Utah in 2018 as the state continued its growth spurt. The Beehive State added another 50,000 people this year, owing both to the state’s healthy economy and low unemployment. But Utah also weathered more troublesome headlines, whether through the rushed creation of a controversial Inland Port in northwest Salt Lake City or the publication of sexual abuse allegations implicating leaders in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Catholic Church.

KUER reporters picked out some of the top stories of this year and explain why they mattered.

Governor's budget
Julia Ritchey / KUER

With an eye toward the state’s growing population and aging tax code, Gov. Gary Herbert unveiled a $19 billion budget on Wednesday with a $200 million sales tax cut proposal as well as full Medicaid expansion and an education boost.  

Photo of prop 3 sign.
Renee Bright / KUER

Updated 3:44 p.m. MST 11/9/8

Voters in Utah have approved Proposition 3, a ballot initiative to expand the Medicaid health insurance program to an estimated 150,000 Utahns.

Photo of prop 3 on ballot.
Renee Bright / KUER

Three states in the Mountain West have ballot initiatives this November focused on expanding access to Medicaid. Over time, these traditionally Republican states appear to have warmed to a program originally linked to the Affordable Care Act.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Shantay Lowell’s kitchen is organized like most working parents, with Oreo cereal in the cupboard and sippy cups on the counter, but one drawer stands out.

If you’re poor and you get really sick in Idaho, your health care options might be really different than say, if you live in Colorado or Montana.


Andrea Smardon / KUER

Idaho officially joined Utah today as the third state to try to expand Medicaid by ballot initiative.

Julia Ritchey / KUER

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox on Tuesday announced the qualifying statewide ballot initiatives for the November election, with half of the original six petitions getting enough signatures to appear on the ticket.

Erik Neumann / KUER

Ballot initiative organizers in Utah have just a week left to collect signatures to try to get their proposals in next November’s election. Some of the proposed initiatives are close. Others have a long way to go.

Erik Neumann / KUER

Gov. Gary Herbert has signed a bill into law that could expand Medicaid health coverage to around 60,000 Utahns. 

Kelsie Moore / KUER

A bill making its way quickly through the Utah legislature could create the largest Medicaid expansion in the state in years. That’s the state and federal low-income health insurance program. But, it comes with a catch.

Erik Neumann / KUER

Officials have announced that a small-scale Medicaid expansion request in Utah was approved by the federal government. For lawmakers focused on difficult problems like homelessness and drug addiction, it was a time to celebrate. 

Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute

The future of a limited Medicaid expansion in Utah is in question after the departure of U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price.