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Health Dept. releases Medicaid expansion report

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 23, 2013 at 6:42 pm •  Published: May 23, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A new report shows Medicaid will cost Utah more money whether or not Gov. Gary Herbert chooses to expand the program, but those costs could be offset by savings in other places for the state and local governments.

The Utah Department of Health on Thursday released the report, which was produced by an outside consulting group.

Utah is among a handful of states that have yet to make a decision about whether to accept the federal government's offer to expand Medicaid.

Gov. Gary Herbert had repeatedly said he wanted the report to be complete before he made a decision.

"My focus is the total cost to Utah's taxpayers," Herbert said in a statement Thursday. The report "is one part of the overall review and analysis. In this decision we are striving to find the best way to serve the people of Utah and the best way to achieve quality healthcare outcomes."

Herbert is also awaiting a report from a group of lawmakers, advocates and others meeting throughout the summer to draw up a health care roadmap for the state.

The group has identified a handful of possible options for the state and has assigned experts to look them over. They'll then present the best options for the state to Herbert by November.

The cost-benefit analysis, which conducted by Boston-based Public Consulting Group, was presented the group Thursday afternoon.

The analysis did not make a recommendation on which path Utah should choose. Instead, it laid out the costs and benefits of five scenarios, four of which involved expanding Medicaid to various degrees.

"The bottom line is that each and every scenario comes with significant costs to the taxpayer," Utah Department of Health Executive Director David Patton said in a statement. "But there are also benefits, both human and financial, and we must remain focused on finding the best way to deliver high-quality, affordable health care to Utahns."

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