I'll be discussing the issue of Medicaid expansion after 5 p.m. today, May 4, with Jason Williams and Paul Mero on 610KVNU.com. Check it out!

My column from yesterday's Deseret News, about the topic that we'll be discussing at the Utah Breakfast Club on Thursday, May 14, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at http://www.utahbreakfast.com/events/2015/5/14/utah-breakfast-club-may-2015

SALT LAKE CITY — If there’s one issue that has come to define the administration of Gov. Gary Herbert over the past year, it’s “Healthy Utah.”

The initiative is his effort to customize a state-specific expansion to Medicaid, the federal/state program of health insurance for the poor. The mystery to many, including this columnist, is: Why don’t we have it yet?

So far, two legislative sessions have come and gone without a resolution of the issue. Everyone in the Legislature is supportive … except for House Republicans. The Senate-passed bill wasn’t even given a hearing in the House chamber.

That’s why it was significant that on Wednesday, Herbert and the program’s leading critics (and allies) traveled to Washington to meet with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

Ostensibly, the meeting was designed to let HHS officials know of the concerns that Utah has with expanding Medicaid. And, in fact, Utah is not alone. Of the 50 states, just 29 of them (including, most recently, Montana) have approved an expansion. The map of the expanders largely mirrors the map of “red states” after a national presidential election.

And therein lies the problem: The Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act has politicized all manner of decisions that really shouldn’t be very controversial.

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Drew Clark can be reached via email: drew@drewclark.com, or on Twitter @drewclark, or at www.utahbreakfast.com
— http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865627839/Empathy-for-legislators-is-good-but-now-we-need-Healthy-Utah.html?pg=all