The Utah House approved a bill Thursday that would require the Legislature and governor to sign off before state agencies follow mandates under any federally enacted health care reforms.
HB67 sponsored by Rep. Carl Wimmer (R-Herriman) passed 53-20 on a largely party-line vote, changing what was originally a message bill into a barrier that state lawyers warn may be unconstitutional for usurping federal power and threatening the state's own separation of powers.
Wimmer's measure, which now goes to the state Senate, threatens to worsen Utah's healthcare crisis, by allowing the federal government to withhold medicaid funding. Further endangering Utah families' ability to afford healthcare coverage.
"Without some help from Medicaid, you could cripple families -- and that's a scary thought," said an emotional Jennifer Fillmore. Though most of her family is insured through her husband's work, her 13-year-old son's autism is considered a preexisting condition that won't be covered. The Fillmores rely on Medicaid to pay for his multitude of therapies, which can cost $1,000 a month.
The vote followed a press conference by the Utah Health Policy Project urging representatives to consider a substitute bill introduced by Rep. Carol Spackman-Moss, D-Holladay. Her replacement would allow the state to block federal health care reform as long as it had also considered whether federal measures best served individuals and whether there would be consequences such as losing Medicaid funding.
Remember these words come election time: "Utah House OKs Roadblocks for Reform"!