Governor Herbert Discusses Health Care Solutions with CMS Administrator Verma

Seema Verma, Administrator of the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services, visited Salt Lake City Monday to discuss Utah’s recently approved Medicaid waiver and announce the formal approval of the state’s implementation plan for those funds. Money from this waiver can now be used to reimburse service providers.

While the Affordable Care Act extended coverage to millions of Americans, Administrator Verma affirmed that coverage was not effective, because it opened up a program that was never designed to provide full coverage.

Governor Herbert joins state and health care leaders, as well as members of Odyssey House in applauding Administrator Verma’s announcement of the federal approval of Utah’s implementation plans for waiver funding. 

In her remarks, she claimed that the goal of CMS should not just be handing out a card, but handing out a card that means something.

Governor Herbert and the administrator toured a new expansion of Odyssey House. The waiver will enable the organization, which helps those struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, add more than 100 treatment beds. In anticipation of the waiver’s approval, Odyssey House began construction projects on a newly purchased building behind its current location at 344 East 100 South.

Adam Cohen, CEO of Odyssey House, gives Administrator Verma and Governor Herbert a tour of the new expansion behind 344 East and 100 South. 

Governor Herbert stressed that this waiver approval is the beginning — not the end — of Utah’s efforts to improve the way Medicaid operates within the state. Utah will seek new waivers and continue conversations with CMS about creating innovations in Medicaid that provide better coverage to more individuals.

The governor believes no state should be advantaged or disadvantaged when it comes to funding for Medicare and Medicaid.  

The Governor hosted the Administrator, members of CMS and state and health care leaders for a luncheon addressing health care solutions.  

Governor Herbert spent the day discussing potential solutions in improving Medicaid coverage in Utah, and appreciated the administrator’s “states first” approach to solving our nation’s problems with health care. At a press conference, Administrator Verma reiterated her support for state solutions, saying that if each state will problem solve and propose a system that would fit their needs, CMS can and will be involved in granting necessary waivers and helping states achieve success.


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