"Irreversible decisions ought to be made with as much deliberation and as much information as you possibly can," House Majority Whip Greg Hughes, R-Draper, told The Salt Lake Tribune last week.
Herbert wants to use $258 million in federal expansion dollars to buy private coverage for the full expansion group — 111,000 Utahns with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, such as a single person earning less than $15,500.
He has sent advisers to Washington, D.C., to negotiate with the Obama administration, and though he lacks the backing of the Legislature, lawmakers haven't tied his hands.
There are common elements in Herbert's proposal and Senate and House plans. All of them would: use public (federal) dollars to buy private coverage; require enrollees to shoulder some of their health care costs; and allow the state to back out of the deal should promised federal funding dry up.
But House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, who is rumored to be running against Herbert in the next election cycle, has refused to approve of any expansion plan that draws on federal funds.
Even if Herbert wins final approval from the feds — a process that could take three months or more — he'll have no way to fund his plan without lawmakers voting to accept federal funds.
For Utahns in need of affordable health coverage that means more uncertainty and waiting.
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