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The Latest: Medicaid expansion changes pass Utah Senate

February 4, 2019
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Tiffiny Malo, left, and Pam Harrison, right, supporters of a voter-approved measure to fully expand Medicaid gather others at a rally to ask lawmakers not to change the law during the first day of the Utah Legislature, at the Utah State Capitol Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on a Utah plan to change a voter-approved Medicaid expansion (all times local):

1:55 p.m.

Utah lawmakers’ proposal to scale back a voter-approved Medicaid expansion has passed the state Senate over protests from advocates who say it guts a plan the majority of people want.

GOP lawmakers say the bill that passed the chamber on Monday is essential to controlling long-term costs.

It would cover about 50,000 fewer people under Medicaid than the measure passed by the voters, and also add work requirements and spending caps. It would require waivers from the federal government.

Supporters of the measure that passed with 53 percent of the vote are pushing back, knocking on doors and running TV commercials as the fast-moving bill moves to the state House.

Andrew Roberts with the group Utah Decides Healthcare says the bill amount to a repeal.

Lawmakers, on the other hand, say it respects the vote while controlling costs.

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9:38 a.m.

A state analysis shows Utah lawmakers’ plan to reduce the number of people covered by a voter-passed Medicaid expansion could cost nearly $72 million before expected savings begin.

The state would initially pay more money to cover fewer people because lawmakers’ scaled-back version doesn’t qualify for increased federal money under President Barack Obama’s signature health-care care law.

Utah lawmakers say the state can’t afford full expansion and their plan will save hundreds of millions of dollars over the long run.

They’re confident the state will get a first-of-its-kind waiver from the Trump administration to get the increased federal dollars anyway.

The cost estimates released Saturday in infuriated activists. Utah Decides Healthcare spokesman Andrew Roberts says lawmakers are trying to cut a backroom deal to overturn the law passed by the voters.

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