SALT LAKE CITY, UT. (AP) — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has signed a plan to scale back a voter-approved Medicaid expansion despite protests that it slashes the measure that passed at the ballot box.
The scaled back voter-approved Medicaid expansion plan was sent to the governor’s desk, following a 22-7 Utah Senate vote on Monday. The move will likely scale back the number of people the ballot measure intended to cover by about 50,000.
GOP lawmakers say their plan will cover the state’s neediest while preventing costs from spiraling out of control. Health-care advocates say it reduces access to needed health care and undermines the vote.
Governor Herbert said in a statement Monday that the proposal balances compassion and frugality in a “humane and sustainable” way.
It expands Medicaid to cover people making up to 100 percent of the poverty line; those who make more than that can buy subsidized insurance on the federal health care exchanges.
He says it’s time to set aside the contentious debate and move forward.
Supporters of the original ballot measure, though, have said lawmakers turned their backs on thousands of people who won’t be eligible for Medicaid under the Legislature’s plan.
Lawmakers say changes are needed to keep costs under control, and people not eligible for Medicaid can buy federally subsidized insurance.
It hinges on federal waivers that would allow a reduction in the number of people covered and addition of work requirements.