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"They don’t have money for premiums," said Hilton. "If you’re at a food pantry and you can’t buy milk for your kids, where do you have money in your budget to give up for premiums? … It’s problematic."
Shiozawa’s plan also calls for cost-sharing — traditionally frowned on by the feds for its potential to impede access to care.
But the Obama administration has shown more flexibility with the expansion population, approving "private option" waivers in Iowa and Michigan with cost sharing capped at 5 percent of income, said Sara Collins, an economist and vice president at the Commonwealth Fund in New York.
No state, however, has won approval for a partial expansion, possibly giving the governor’s plan an edge over Shiozawa’s, which would cover only those under 100 percent of federal poverty.
Herbert’s plan "will have to be more fleshed out," Collins said. But it presents an opportunity to "expand health coverage to the poorest residents in the state...[and to] make sure that state tax dollars being spent on the ACA actually benefit people living in Utah."
Kirsten Stewart contributed to this report.
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