To: Greg Hughes, Jim Dunnigan, Francis Gibson, Brad Wilson,
Subject: current legislative status of Medicaid expansion
Date: Mon Oct 26 22:41:59 MDT 2015
I am emailing you, Mr. Speaker, as the leader of the House, and each of the Republican leadership team members about where the House stands in connection with Medicaid expansion. I am also copying the other members of the House Democratic leadership team on this email.
As you know, Democrats in the House were unhappy that there was no effort made to reach out to us and include us as part of, or in addition to, the Gang of Six discussions relating to expansion. After the last legislative session, the Gang of Six worked for over seven months and put together the Utah Access+ proposal. Despite that time and effort, Utah Access+ gathered the support of only seven of the 63 House Republicans.
That the Utah Access+ proposal resulted in such minimal support is remarkable. As to substance, but especially as to process, our leadership team thinks there is a better way forward as we continue to consider Medicaid expansion.
We were encouraged by the statements of various members of the Gang of Six, including some of you, after the Republican caucus meetings on October 13th that Medicaid expansion is an issue that is not going away. Like you, we are committed to finding a way for Medicaid expansion to pass the legislature in the 2016 session.
We request, again, that the Democrats be included in discussions about the best way of moving the ball down the field on this issue. Over 70% of Utahns supported the Governor¹s Healthy Utah proposal. Whether it is that version of Medicaid expansion or some other that is similar to Healthy Utah, most Utahns want to see those below 138% of FPL get access to affordable healthcare. We believe that most Utahns want an open process used as we deliberate on this important issue, which means that Democrats, who represent over 30% of the state¹s population based on last year¹s Congressional election voting, need to participate. We believe that open government produces better public policy.
With that in mind, we would like your assurance about two discrete process issues. First, we would like your commitment that any discussions that occur in the future about specific proposals for Medicaid expansion will be carried out in the context of the Health Reform Task Force or some other formally appointed committee, commission, or task force that requires Democrats to be included as opposed to an ad hoc group such as the Gang of Six. If a new group is formed to discuss how to move forward on Medicaid expansion, we are requesting Democratic representation and participation in that group.
Second, we would like your commitment that any Medicaid expansion proposal will be considered with no preconditions as to the partisan makeup of the 38 members minimum necessary to pass legislation and without weighing Republican support in any way that is greater or different than Democratic support. That is a critical part of ensuring we have integrity in the political process by which we consider Medicaid expansion or any other legislation.
Please let us know your thoughts when you have had a chance to consider these matters.