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House buys insurance with two Medicaid expansion bills

Published March 3, 2014 8:02 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A House-backed alternative to expanding Medicaid won committee endorsement for the second time on Monday.

The plan had already cleared the House Business and Labor Committee, but wrapped in a larger omnibus measure filled with provisions to bring Utah law in line with the Affordable Care Act.

An exact replica of the plan resurfaced Monday in its own, separate bill HB401 — a move aimed at speeding its passage, argued Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville.

"We have an estimated 54,000 Utahns in the [Medicaid] coverage gap. This plan proposes to provide some coverage for them," said Dunnigan.

Separating the bill could also be a tactic, however, to safeguard the omnibus bill from faltering under the weight of the Medicaid debate, which has pitted both legislative branches and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert against one another.

Dunnigan had hoped to place HB401 on the House consent calendar, but came up two votes shy. It heads now to the House floor.

— Kirsten Stewart

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