Gov. Herbert: Utah will accept some form of Medicaid expansion

Posted at 9:18 PM, Jan 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-24 20:13:26-05

SALT LAKE CITY – In his monthly televised news conference Thursday, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said the state will take some form of Medicaid expansion.

Herbert said, when it comes to Medicaid, doing nothing to expand the program is an option that’s off the table.

"Doing nothing is not an option,” he said. “We have about 60,000 people in the state of Utah that live below the poverty line, which, because of, just, flaws in the Affordable Care Act, will not have the coverage that is necessary for them to access good healthcare.”

Herbert has not said what expansion plan the state will take, as of now. The Utah governor has waited longer than any other governor in the country to decide whether or not to accept the Medicaid expansion. Herbert said that puts Utah in a position to create a strong program that avoids earlier mistakes made by other states.

Utah Senator Jim Dabakis, D-District 2 and the chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, reacted to Herbert's announcement with a statement, which said in part:

"Utah's Democratic Party joins all reasonable Utahns in saluting the decision by Governor Gary Herbert to expand access to healthcare for Utah's citizens. We trust that this is not a conditional acceptance... And that the Utah legislature will see the wisdom in joining so many other states in providing a hand up to the 123,000 Utahns desperate for affordable health care."

FOX 13 News' Annie Cutler spoke to several Utah lawmakers about the issue, see the video above for her live report.