Utah looks like it will be the next deep-red state to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, with the state’s Republican governor saying this week that a deal with the Obama administration could be coming in the next few weeks.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Gov. Gary Herbert (R) said that U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell had agreed in principle to one of the state’s major requests: Helping connect Medicaid enrollees with job training and opportunities
Herbert wasn’t specific about what the final deal would be, and the Tribune reported that HHS had not agreed to let the state issue any job requirements for enrollees. But the agency did sign off last week on a Medicaid expansion waiver from Pennsylvania that would create a job-assistance program for enrollees.
“It’s a win, win, win all the way around,” Herbert said. Medicaid expansion would cover up to 75,000 people in Utah. It would also need to be cleared by the state legislature.
Utah has been negotiating with HHS for months over its alternative Medicaid expansion plan. Herbert has also asked the agency to allow the state to use Medicaid dollars to pay for private coverage for enrollees, a concept that has already been approved in Arkansas and Iowa.
Other conservative states like Tennessee and Wyoming are also moving toward Medicaid expansion.