George Pyle: Utah’s not that weird. (Medicaid edition)

Ellie Brownstein, left, who is in opposition to SB96 and Wiz Rouzard with Americans for Prosperity in favor of SB96 debate for and against in front of the Utah House chamber, Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, in Salt Lake City. Utah lawmakers' plan to scale back a voter-approved Medicaid expansion has passed a key vote despite protests from advocates who say it guts a plan the majority of voters want. (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

Some Utahns take pride, and others are appalled, depending on the issue, at the thought that politics here is somehow just really strange.

Well, maybe. Sometimes. But not as much as one might think.

Take, for example, our ongoing fuss over whether, and how much, to expand the Medicaid health care program for the working poor. Utah’s fight has included the passage of Proposition 3, which would have dragged the state kicking and screaming into, if not the 21st century, then into the civilized world’s idea of the 20th. And, more recently, the move by the Utah Legislature to basically rip the lungs out of that voter-approved initiative and put in its place something cheap and deliberately hurtful.

Well, things are tough all over.

Prop 3 repeal is a cruel lie to the people of Utah — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

"The Utah Legislature, assisted by an overly meek governor and a stunningly silent medical establishment, has shown us all what it thinks is important: Having a state where far too many people have no access to health care. ...

" ... Maintaining that disgraceful Third World status for this supposedly well-run and conservative state was important enough to an overwhelming majority of lawmakers that, rather than accept the frugal and compassionate expansion of Medicaid as approved by the voters in Proposition 3, they rushed through an effective repeal in the form of Senate Bill 96. ..."

Utah has an Orwellian definition of ‘compassion’ — Robert Rees and Clifton Jolley | For The Tribune

"Defying the will of the majority of Utah voters, Gov. Gary Herbert signed into law a limited expansion of the Medicaid program, thereby excluding 60,000 Utahns from health insurance coverage.

“His argument: the law ‘balances Utah’s sense of compassion and frugality.’ Which undoubtedly was the argument of the priest and the Levite who passed by the wounded Jew in the parable of the Good Samaritan. ...”

Time to move beyond Prop 3 and Obamacare — Joseph Q. Jarvis | For The Tribune

" ... It’s time for us to stop bickering about Obamacare. These are pointless arguments which are not dealing with the real issue: cost. ..."

Democracy and health care is under attack in Utah — Jonathan Schleifer | For The Hill

"Over the past two years, Americans have sent elected officials one message that could not be clearer: we want more health care, not less. That message rung out in the halls of Congress and in town halls across the country in the outpouring of opposition to bills that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act. ...

“... You might think adroit politicians would look at the results of the past two years and conclude they should respect the will of the voters and implement pro-health care policies. But in a state like Utah, where conservative forces hold overwhelming power in both the House and the Senate, they don’t fear the voters; they feel perfectly comfortable paying overt fealty to their conservative ideology while making a mockery of the basic democratic principles upon which this country was built (democratic principles, it should be noted, that they fully embrace when it comes to their own election to office). ...”

Idahoans should get what they voted for with Prop 2 — Idaho Statesman Editorial

"Idaho voters went into last week’s election fully informed on Proposition 2, the Medicaid expansion initiative. Backers and opponents did a good job of explaining both the benefits and consequences of the measure. On Election Day, Idahoans overwhelmingly passed Prop 2, giving it 60.6 percent of the vote. ...

" ... Idaho residents should now get what they voted for. Those who fought the proposal should accept and respect the results and not attempt to win through the courts what they lost at the ballot box. ..."

Alabama Legislature must decide what’s more important: money or people — Anniston [Ala.] Star Editorial

“Nothing about Alabama’s Republican-led refusal to expand Medicaid and take advantage of the federal government’s offer to pay for most of that expansion is humane or logical. Let’s be blunt. It’s political, hateful and short-sighted. ...”

Health care must be part of legislative focus — Muskogee [Okla.] Phoenix Editorial

" ... If Oklahoma is going to be a Top 10 state, it’s got to have a healthy population — people who can fill those new jobs expected to be offered. ..."

Heed Moran’s words; expand Medicaid — Topeka [Kan.] Capitol-Journal Editorial

"U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran’s statement earlier this month about how rural hospitals ‘hanging on by a thread’ could be helped by Medicaid expansion was only stating in the obvious. But as longtime observers of Kansas politics know, sometimes stating the obvious can be a powerful act. ...

" ... Kansas must expand Medicaid, and it must do so soon.

“The facts are familiar to those who have followed the issue, but they bear repeating here. Kansans have paid for Medicaid expansion since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. By refusing to expand our own program, we have lost out on more than $3 billion in federal funds. ...”

Listen to Texans and expand Medicaid coverage — Austin [Texas] American-Statesman Editorial

" ... Stop throwing away billions of federal dollars while stubbornly refusing to provide health care to those who need it. ..."

Medicaid expansion is in Nebraska’s best interest, deserves voter approval — Omaha [Neb.] World-Herald Editorial

" ... Andy Hale, with the Nebraska Hospital Association, is right when he says, “We are paying for expansion without getting the benefits of it.” World-Herald analysis puts that figure at about $520 million that Nebraska currently is sending to other states. ..."

Why is Missouri dropping thousands of children from its Medicaid rolls? — Kansas City [Mo.] Star Editorial

“ ... The process ... is breaking down because we don’t understand the situations of low-income people.”