Making lemonade from federal lemons

Gov. Herbert told reporters this morning that he’s working to take the lemons given to the state through the federal health reform and turn them into lemonade.

“I think the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is flawed and needs fixing, repealing or replacing,” said the governor. “That being said, we have lemons and I’m trying to make lemonade out of it. It may be not as good of lemonade as some would like but it’s better than just having the lemons.”

The governor’s Healthy Utah plan would bring $258 million to the state to help those living at or slightly above the federal poverty level purchase private insurance, rather than adding them to the federal Medicaid program. Utahns already pay some $680 million in ACA-specific taxes.

“I’ve just aid there is a better way to spend the money. I’d just as soon Utah direct the spending of that money as opposed to the federal government. I think we’re better at it. We understand our people, our culture better than they do. So we’re taking that same $258 million and redirecting it into the HUP which is more of a private insurance program with individual responsibility and a work effort requirement. It will have them take on an individual responsibility and have a better health care outcome at the end of the day.

The governor told reporters he is driven to get Utah taxpayers the greatest value for their tax dollar, even when the tax is one he doesn’t agree with.

“I have to deal with the here and the now and the reality of what we have as laws on the books and respect the fact that whether our people you like it or don’t like it, our people are sending large amounts of money to Washington, D.C.,” said the governor. “I’m not a big fan of the Affordable Care Act but I know what the law is, I know what we’re paying and I want to get a bigger bang for the buck. With the Healthy Utah Plan, I believe that will be the case than if we just do a Medicaid expansion or do nothing and leave people in an unfair situation that has been created by the Affordable Care Act and the Supreme Court decision.”

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