Lawmakers approve ambitious Medicaid reform plan
A bill to reform Utah's Medicaid program an ambitious plan that purports to save $770 million over seven years cleared a final hurdle Wednesday and is en route to Gov. Gary Herbert, who is expected to sign it.
SB180 would steer Medicaid recipients into a managed care system, rather than simply paying doctors or hospitals for services provided. In addition, the bill would set a target of limiting Medicaid growth to 8 percent annually. If the costs of Medicaid increase more slowly, the difference would go into a Medicaid Rainy Day Fund, which could be tapped in those years when growth exceeds 8 percent.
The culmination of months of consensus-building with hospitals, medical associations and consumer groups, the bill encountered no opposition, passing the Senate by a wide margin and the House in a 77-0 vote on Wednesday.
It contains few details, leaving most of the legwork to state health officials who would be tasked with drafting a reform plan and submitting it for approval by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The goal is to preserve the budget-busting low-income health insurance program, not to gut it, said the bill's sponsor Rep. John Dougall, R-Highland.
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