Utah group attempts to push Medicaid expansion to a vote

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Utah Decides Healthcare, an advocacy group that supports expanded Medicaid eligibility for Utah residents, has taken action to push the matter to a public vote in 2018, according to KSL.

The proposal would expand Medicaid eligibility to all residents whose income is 138 percent or less than the federal poverty level, providing coverage to those who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid under current standards but too little to qualify for federal tax credits toward plans on individual exchanges. There are currently 80,000 Utah residents who fall under this category.

The group submitted an application for a public referendum to the lieutenant governor's office, which has 30 days to review the initiative and ensure that its request does not violate the state's constitution. If it passes review, Utah Decides Healthcare has until April 15, 2018 to collect 113,000 signatures, including certain signee requirements in 26 of the state's 29 Senate districts, in order to put the issue on the ballot later that year.

"The initiative will provide vitally needed health care to our most vulnerable citizens, hardworking families and low-income individuals who need it the most," Dina Blaes, a spokeswoman for the initative, said in a statement obtained by KSL.

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