Voters in Utah approved a ballot measure in November that would expand Medicaid, but on Monday, state lawmakers passed a bill that provides coverage to about half as many people and adds work requirements.
"This is a dark day for democracy in Utah," Andrew Roberts, a spokesman for the advocacy group Utah Decides, told The Associated Press. "State legislators turned their backs on voters and on families in need." Voters approved two measures: one that expanded Medicaid to people making less than $17,000 a year, and another that raised the sales tax in order to cover the expansion.
The plan that passed the Republican-led legislature only extends Medicaid to 80,000 people, letting 70,000 others buy subsidized insurance on the marketplace created under the Affordable Care Act. State Sen. Allen Christensen (R) sponsored the changes, and claimed there wasn't enough money to cover a full expansion. "I think we are doing the long-term responsible thing," he said. AP notes that the plan hinges on waivers from the federal government. Catherine Garcia