US rejection disappoints states eyeing Utah Medicaid plan

The rejection of Utah’s closely watched plan to partially expand Medicaid could send other states back to the drawing board on covering more low-income people under former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.

Matt Salo with the National Association of Medicaid Directors said Monday the decision by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will be disappointing in conservative-leaning states where leaders had considered Utah’s plan a middle-ground approach.

But supporters of full Medicaid expansion in Utah cheered the federal decision, citing a fallback provision that would require the state to cover more people if the U.S. government rejected the GOP-crafted plan.

Utah had asked to get more federal money while covering a smaller pool of people than required under the Obama health care law, arguing the waiver was needed to keep costs from spiraling out of control.

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