The Herbert Budget Anticipates a Tax Hike

[Correction: page 22 of Governor Herbert’s budget proposal contains a tax hike on e-cigarette’s by changing how they are considered under Utah law. According to page 22 of the Governor’s proposal, the change is worth an anticipated $10 million.H/t Robert Gehrke] A Big Boost to Education To much fanfare, Governor Gary Herbert released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2016 on Thursday. The budget proposes the largest increase to education funding in 25 years, and that’s laudable. Delaying Medicaid Expansion Costs and Betting on the Future In addition to boosting education funding (which…

Utah Medicaid Expansion Polls: The False Dichotomy Problem

Capitol at night

If there’s one thing that the pollsters who have raised their collective fingers to the wind of Utah public opinion in recent months can agree upon, it’s that Utah voters don’t know much about Medicaid expansion.  That’s a problem, not only for making public policy, but for trusting the polls to determine what the public supports.  After a meeting between the Governor and US Secretary of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Sylvia Burwell, Utah Political Capital reported that Herbert had speculated that a deal on Medicaid expansion was just a couple weeks…

Obamacare employer incentives could drive up Medicaid expansion costs

Last week, I was invited to share my thoughts and concerns about Medicaid expansion with my former Republican legislative colleagues in the Utah House and Senate. I have been involved in the Medicaid policy debate since 2009, first as a Utah State Senator and now as a private citizen. My primary concern over these past five years has been the financial sustainability of the Medicaid system, which, until recently, has been growing at around three times the rate of our state budget, gobbling up already strained resources and forcing cuts…

The Healthy Utah Poll: Pushing Public Opinion, not Finding It

Released on June 17th, a poll shows massive public support for Governor Gary Herbert’s Health Utah Medicaid expansion plan. In fact, if the poll numbers are to be trusted,  legislators with any kind of political self-interest should be scrambling to accept the Medicaid expansion. On a second look, though, the poll isn’t so helpful as it looks and may actually have methodology problems. Utah policy makers should be wary before accepting the results of the poll. Utahns have a lot still to learn about Medicaid expansion before a decision is made to accept…

Do Utahns Really Want Medicaid Expansion?

Do Utahns want state elected officials to expand Medicaid? Medicaid expansion is a big deal, even if it’s not half as riveting as same-sex marriage or the FIFA World Cup.  It speaks to the question of how we as a state care for our poor when they get sick.  A poll published by Brigham Young University’s Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy concluded that Utahns do want to see an expansion. But do Utahns understand what that means? Researchers at Brigham Young University’s Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy…

Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion

Healthcare

Never write or speak on something you have an opinion on from reading and listening to others, but not through any particular research. That is the way I feel about Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. I know it affects me and my family. I know it affects Utah’s State budget. And I know it affects other Utahns. I know just enough to be dangerous. Maybe it is an affirmation towards our form of Representative government. Since pioneer days, Utahns have valued self reliance. The most fascinating part of the Medicaid expansion debate…