Healthy Utah negotiations moving forward

Following a productive negotiation with the secretary of health and human services, Gov. Herbert’s Healthy Utah plan moving closer to being read to present to the Legislature.

To borrow a page from coaching legend John Wooden, the governor is taking a “be quick but don’t hurry,” approach.

“The first priority of business is to make sure I have an agreement that I feel good about myself,” said the governor. “We are probably within 95 percent of getting all that we have asked for in the beginning. I feel good about that.”

The governor reiterated the “devil is in the details,” but once the details are worked out he will present the plan to the Legislature so they can decide how to vote.

Negotiations have been productive thus far, and the governor outlined a few key issues where he has made progress including having benefit recipients pay part of the premium, increase in co-payments and charging people who use the emergency room for non-emergency issues.

“We’ve got those all resolved,” said the governor.

The final sticking point has been the governor’s insistence that work should be part of the program.

“Medicaid was designed to be a transitional instrument,” said Gov. Herbert. “We are marrying our workforce programs with Healthy Utah to address both aspects. We want you that need government assistance to get the government assistance you need, but then to help you help yourself get off government assistance.”

A special session is still the governor’s preferred path to finalize the Healthy Utah plan, but he says he understands the Legislature’s need to have time to fully understand the details of the program.

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