Fact Check: Senator Dabakis was against expanding Medicaid before he was for it

It’s hard to tell whether Senator Jim Dabakis thinks no one is paying attention to his voting history or just if he just flat-out doesn’t remember his own votes.

The Governor’s self-imposed July 31 deadline is approaching for an announcement of a plan to address the gap in Utahns’ healthcare coverage (to be called Healthy Utah Utah Cares Utah Elevates*…because it goes well with the license plates, right?), and some legislative leaders are promising it will be better than ever.

But “better than ever” is not good enough for Senator Jim Dabakis, who still wants full Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (or what’s left of it after extensive remodeling by the Supreme Court and waivers for unions, Congress and the politically well-connected by the Obama Administration).  No, compromise to find a Utah solution that is financially responsible and fiscally sustainable is not part of Dabakis’ five-year plan.

In a post on Facebook, Dabakis “urged” (and “urged” might be putting it gently) Governor Herbert to just take the money and run sign Medicaid expansion.

Fact Check: Senator Dabakis was against expanding Medicaid before he was for it

The ever astute Maryann Martindale was quick to point out that in Utah the Governor cannot unilaterally accept Medicaid expansion. Utah passed a law in 2013 that prevents the Governor from expanding Medicaid without the Utah Legislature’s participation.

Fact Check: Senator Dabakis was against expanding Medicaid before he was for it

Ironically, Senator Dabakis knows this. He voted for the bill. Was it dubious when he voted for its passage? (see below)

The title is awfully dubious: “Prohibition of Medicaid expansion.” I am dubious about what the law was intended to mean. Maybe we can ask Justice John Roberts. He seems to have his finger on the pulse of what legislators intend to do with healthcare legislation.

Fact Check: Senator Dabakis was against expanding Medicaid before he was for it

It’s clear by now that Utah’s legislative leaders (and by leaders, I mean those of the majority caucus) and Governor have no intention of making a 180 degree turn, driving a three years back up the road and taking full Medicaid expansion. Dabakis knows this. He knows that the Governor not only can’t, but won’t.

But, as they say, never let truth get in the way of a really good Facebook comment. And no one ever accused Dabakis of missing the opportunity to make a good point.


*Not really. I made that name up. I’m sure the wonks in the Utah Legislature will be far more clever in coming up with a name for this iteration.)


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