Discussion of new Medicaid Expansion proposal named Utah Access Plus

The Legislature met in a closed caucus to learn about and discuss the details of the new Medicaid Expansion proposal named Utah Access Plus (UA+).

The short version is that those that benefit from the financial aspect of medicaid expansion (Doctors, Hospitals, clinics, home care providers, nurses, etc) would be taxed to pay for the medicaid expansion UA+.
The objective of this Expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare is to provide coverage for 32,000 Utah Adults who earn above 100% of Federal Poverty Level. This also covers 63,000 Utah Adults below Federal Poverty Level. It will also cover the increase of both 31,500 Utah Adults and Children which is called the "woodwork effect".

$35.3 million in new state taxes need to be generated to pay for this expansion of Medicaid. Of that:

  • Hospitals will divide up a $16.1 million portion or up to $4.5 million per hospital annually
  • Physicians (Doctors) will pay $979 annually as part of their license renewal
  • Managed Care organizations will pay up to $1.4 million annually
  • Pharmacies will pay up to $500,000 annually
  • Home Health Care providers will pay up to $70,000 annually
  • and so on for the 14 types of health care providers in the state including nurses, chiropractors, podiatrists, psychologists, etc.)

These taxes are scalable up or down to meet the costs of those in the system. If more people sigh up as has been the case in every other state that has expanded medicaid, then these taxes on health care providers will go up.

There are also new requirements that govern employer provided healthcare and employees.

There is a part of this program that covers the medically frail as was under the previous Utah Cares plan that the legislature proposed.

It is expected that all of these new taxes will be passed along to the healthcare consumers as additional costs or fees.

We will receive and make public all of the details, but for now here is a photo of one of the slides that shows the structure of the tax:

About 45 minutes into the closed door caucus meeting a protester from Texas was able to get in and disrupted the meeting for 25 minutes. At that point the meeting was moved to another room large enough to accommodate the legislators and have a security guard block the doors.

I am open to any questions that people may have. I don't know all of the answers but I can try to find them.

In an interview with the Salt Lake Trib, I was quoted:

"I didn't really see a change in direction, a change in what I expect the outcome to be based on the information we heard," said Rep. David Lifferth, R-Eagle Mountain. "I think people are still reeling from the [gas and property] taxes we increased last session … so I think to put another tax on top of that will be tough for a Republican Legislature."
New Utah health coverage proposal may already be in jeopardy | The Salt Lake Tribune

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