By Maren McInnes
Capital West News
SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert ended the standoff on Medicaid expansion in Utah and named a blue-ribbon panel to come to resolve differences by the end of July.
Senate and House versions of bills designed to “close the gap” in Medicaid stood apart as lawmakers moved into the waning hours of the 2015 Legislature.
Herbert introduced the new joint committee that will meet once the session is over. A concurrent resolution will be passed in both bodies later today. Herbert charged the committee to craft legislation by July 31. At that point, the Legislature could be called into a special session to vote on a compromise.
Herbert announced that committee includes: Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, Senate President Sen. Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, House Speaker Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, and competing bill sponsors Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Salt Lake City, and Rep. James Dunningan, R-Taylorsville.
Committee members said they are determined to work together to find a good solution and compromise for this issue. No Democrats were appointed the committee.
“The good news is we are closer than ever to finding a solution,” Herbert said. He made an analogy to football. “We haven’t scored the touchdown yet, but we’re in the red zone—or if you are a BYU Cougar fan, the blue zone.” They have a game plan to get over the goal line and this committee will put more time on the clock.
Niederhauser and Hughes expressed their excitement and determination to work together as a team.
“We are going to solve this problem together the Utah way,” Herbert said.