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Utah Senators Defy Voters, Roll Back Voter Passed Medicaid Expansion

“This is the opposite of what Utahns voted for. The voters got it right, and the politicians need to listen.”

Utah natives voted to have Medicaid expanded under the Affordable Care Act in November, but the Senate in a 22-7 vote passed a bill to reverse the expansion. Only one Republican and all six Democrats opposed the bill. With the new Senate bill, the voter-approved Medicaid expansion will be limited to a smaller number of people.

Under the normal Medicaid expansion, health insurance is available to people whose income is 138 percent of the poverty level. But with the new Senate bill, only people earning less than 100 percent of the poverty level will now be eligible for coverage under the limited Medicaid expansion.

People who supported the November ballot initiative claim that GOP state legislators are working contrary to the will and health of the people.

“This is the opposite of what Utahns voted for. The voters got it right, and the politicians need to listen,” Andrew Roberts, spokesman for the pro-Medicaid expansion group Utah Decides, told the Deseret News.

However, the reversal approved by the state politicians must be approved by the federal government to qualify for federal funding from the Trump administration.

According to the Hill, neither the Obama nor the Trump administrations have ever approved such a reversal of Medicaid expansion as passed by the Utah Senate, because it would only expand the program to a small group of people.

In a situation where the Trump administration fails to endorse the changes, the bill approved by the Senate would nullify any Medicaid expansion in Utah. The bill is currently scheduled to proceed to the state House which is largely dominated by Republicans and thus likely to pass.




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