The Utah Taxpayers Association’s purpose is to be the watchdog for Utah taxpayers. We work to protect Utahns from unnecessary and burdensome government regulations and taxes. The Association uses set principles of efficient government and equitable taxation to evaluate legislative proposals.
The Association used these principles to evaluate Governor Herbert’s Medicaid expansion proposal known as Healthy Utah. Healthy Utah had various financial unknowns that would require additional state resources. The Association felt that this potential burden on taxpayers was not adequately discussed. With unpredictable outcomes and questionable long-term sustainability, the Association did not endorse Healthy Utah.
Among discussions of various alternative Medicaid expansion plans such as Frail Utah and Utah Cares, Governor Herbert and the Senate recently released a new version of Healthy Utah with minimal initial impact on taxpayers and the state budget. Due to these changes, the Utah Taxpayers Association has taken a neutral position on the current legislation, known as SB 164. However, concerns remain for the future sustainably of Medicaid expansion and the potential impact to Utah taxpayers. Even though the impact on Utah taxpayers will be minimal during the proposed 2-year pilot program, the legislature will need to find an ongoing funding solution for Medicaid expansion in year three.
The Utah Taxpayers Association supports a health care plan that respects Utah taxpayers. Medicaid expansion should include cost saving reforms and programs that maintain a fiscally sound state budget. Any expansion should help those who are most needy while providing resources for those individuals to become self-reliant so they can receive health care from the private market. Most important, as part of the discussion of expanding Medicaid, Utah needs to consider the trade-offs that will inevitably affect other critical state needs such as education, transportation and other social services. The Association looks forward to continued discussion of Medicaid expansion and hopes to see a compromise between the Governor and the Legislature.