Western Governors’ Association discusses health care policy

Posted at 5:20 PM, Jun 29, 2013

PARK CITY, Utah -- It was a working weekend for members of the Western Governors' Association in Park City.

The group of governors met Saturday morning, and they discussed health care reforms and their challenges implementing changes mandated by federal law.

Gov. Gary Herbert, R-Utah, lead a roundtable discussion regarding health care, which was attended by several governors from neighboring states as well as former Utah Gov. and Health Secretary Mike Leavitt.

Leavitt said there are a variety of concerns regarding the issue.

“The pressure we're feeling isn't just about the Affordable Care Act,” he said. “It's about our overall healthcare system.”

Several of the governors who attended expressed their frustration about implementing federal health care law. In Utah alone, it is estimated the cost of the expansion will be $3.2 billion during the next 10 years.

“I think most of us as Governors don't like the fact that it’s a one-size-fits-all approach,” Herbert said. “There needs to be more flexibility given to states.”

Herbert said the meeting will help change policy on health care.

“We’ll learn from each other,” he said. “We’ll learn from successes. We’ll learn from our failures, and eventually out of this will emerge a new system of healthcare.”

The members of the Western Governors' Association are mostly Republicans, but two democrats were on Saturday’s panel: Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana and Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado. They said implementing health care reform may cost states more money up front, but they said it is a solid investment in America’s future.