If you’re looking for good political drama, look no further than the dueling narratives over Healthy Utah’s expansion of Medicaid in Utah.
In one corner of the ring, Governor Gary Herbert, Alliance for a Better Utah, the Utah Healthy Policy Project, many of the Utah Senate, and a host of others are calling for a House debate on what Herbert calls Healthy Utah 2.0.
In the other corner is the Utah House of Representatives Republican Caucus, led by former boxer and current Speaker, Greg Hughes and Rep. Jim Dunnigan. The debate has been ongoing for months, they say, and it’s time for the Governor and the Senate to sit down and talk about Dunnigan’s plans to close the coverage gap.
At the core of the argument–beyond even what policy Utah should adopt to cover uninsured Utahns–is a disagreement about whether Healthy Utah has been debated, whether there has been public comment, and whether the debate has been transparent or whether it is just political pageantry.
Below are two clips, the first of Governor Gary Herbert making the argument for allowing a vote and a second with Speaker Hughes responding to media questions about the House’s unwillingness to take up the bill. Both are worth your time to watch. Both accuse the other of misconstruing the arguments (Governor says the House wants to do nothing, but Hughes repeatedly talks about Dunnigan’s plan, and Hughes says that the Governor is only willing to do a Healthy Utah bill or nothing).
How do you see the process unfolding from here?
Jump to the 15 minute mark in the Speaker’s Q&A below.