Utah: ACA Medicaid expansion is a done deal

Hat Tip To: 
Elaine Ryan

Add Utah to the list of GOP-run states changing their tune on Obamacare:

Gov. Gary Herbert announced Thursday that after months of negotiations, he has reached a final agreement with the Obama administration on his novel alternative to expanding Medicaid.

"They are giving us more flexibility than has been given to any other state in America. We are breaking some new ground," Herbert announced in his monthly press conference on KUED.

Herbert said he soon will send to the Obama administration a letter outlining the agreement they’ve reached on Utah’s alternative, his Healthy Utah plan.

The deal would help low-income Utahns earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level who are not covered by Medicaid buy private health insurance plans.

From the sounds of it, it looks like this will be set up along the lines of the Arkansas "private option" program, which basically amounts to using Medicaid funding to cover practically 100% of the cost of private QHPs.

The thing that I find bemusing is that so many Republicans are embracing 100% tax credits for the working poor while getting all hot & bothered about 90%, 80%, 50% and so on going up the economic ladder, but so be it; this is still a good thing.

The only real downside here is that it sounds like the program won't actually kick off for another year:

The governor expects to share details of his plan with legislators in mid-November, and there will be a 30-day comment period for the public as well.

..."I believe that by the end of the legislative session in 2015, we will have a program in place," Herbert said Thursday.

Amusingly, this is yet more evidence that even solid Republican states no longer believe that there's any chance of the ACA being repealed anytime soon.