Watch as House members revolt over Healthy Utah

Posted at 9:58 PM, Mar 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-06 12:56:18-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- In a "Hail Mary" to save Healthy Utah, some members of the Utah House of Representative revolted against their colleagues and tried to resurrect the bill on the floor.

Rep. Justin Miller, D-Salt Lake City, made the motion to resurrect SB164, the governor's Medicaid expansion plan, as lawmakers were debating bills late into the night on Thursday.

The bill had been killed in committee the night before but Miller sought to bring it back on the floor for debate and a vote.

Almost immediately, his Republican counterparts pounced and tried to reject it.

Some accused him of violating the process, bringing about counter-accusations that this was a part of the process.

"We owe it to our constituency and the people of Utah," said Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake, who broke with her GOP colleagues to support bringing Healthy Utah back.

Some lawmakers appeared visibly angry as the debate raged on.

"We don't lift failed bills and put them on the House floor," Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, told his colleagues. "This is a bad motion."

Rep. Miller forced a vote on whether to resurrect Healthy Utah and it failed by a 16-56 vote. Four Republicans: Rep. Edwards; Rep. Sophia DiCaro, R-West Valley City; Rep. Lowry Snow, R-St. George; and Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City sided with Democrats in the vote.

Rep. Dunnigan then asked to open a new bill for House rules and asked for the GOP to meet in caucus. Republicans filed into the closed-door meeting, but insisted they did not talk about what just happened on the floor -- just the budget.

In an interview with FOX 13, Rep. Miller said he had no regrets.

"Healthy Utah is a monumental bill, my colleague from Davis County [Rep. Edwards] referred to it as a 'once in a generation bill' and I truly believe that," he said. "Sending it to a committee and having it die the death that it did, I think, really does a disservice to Utahns, because we're a body of 75 people we're sent here by the voters, and this is the type of bill that needs to come to the floor and have all 75 vote on it."

SB164 passed the Senate, but the House would not hear it until they unveiled a competing health care plan dubbed "Utah Cares." That bill passed a House committee on Wednesday night.

Utah Cares will be debated on the House floor on Friday morning.