Utah Legislature Sparks Controversy With New Medicaid Expansion Bill

Manatt’s Patricia Boozang, a senior managing director at Manatt Health, spoke with Modern Healthcare about a new Medicaid expansion bill in Utah.

State senate Republicans in Utah are seeking to replace voter-approved Medicaid expansion with a bill that includes a cap on federal payments and a work requirement for participating individuals.

Experts say this bill has the potential to spark controversy because of its restrictions. Medical provider groups nationwide have warned that Medicaid per-capita caps would significantly reduce Medicaid payments over time and force rate, benefit and eligibility cutbacks. 

Boozang is skeptical that a bill with a per-capita cap on federal payments would be beneficial to the state of Utah in the long term.

Per-capita caps or block grant arrangements “come with very significant financial risks for the states, depending on the conditions of the waiver,” Boozang said. “The devil’s in the details, and legislators, in making these proposals, have not thought about what those conditions might be.”



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