This is day 24 of the 45 day session and today at noon marked the half way mark of our actual working days at the Capitol. We are beginning debate of some of the more controversial issues, such as Medicaid expansion. The House has rolled out a plan to address the problem of the 54,000 Utahns who fall in the “donut hole” coverage gap of those making less than 100% of the federal poverty line, which is $11,500 for a single individual or $22,550 for a family of four. Individuals who fall at the 101% of the federal poverty line become eligible for premium subsidies.
The House plan would distribute an appropriation, $35 million has been proposed, across the most medically needy of the 54,000 in the coverage gap. Exact language for this proposal is not released as of yet, but the proposal was discussed in our majority caucus yesterday. This House proposal will be considered along with the 3 recommendations coming from the legislative Health Reform Task Force that I have been serving on. The focus of all these options is to provide healthcare coverage that is accessible and affordable, as well as sustainable. Many in the uninsured group of 54,000 are those who have lost their insurance with a job change or loss and represent the most needy among us. This debate will continue and may extend beyond the 45 day session due to the complexities inherent to the issue.
More information about Medicaid expansion: