Herbert Asks Obama to Approve State Health Exchange

(KCPW News) Utah Governor Gary Herbert wants President Barack Obama to approve Utah’s health exchang e program before a federal deadline later this week. Robert Spendlove, the Governor’s Policy Director says Herbert sent a letter to the White House yesterday urging the President for flexibility as Utah looks to keep its current health exchange, known as Avenue H.

“The Governor in the letter asked the President to instruct Heath and Human Services to certify Utah’s exchange as compliant with the Affordable Care Act,” Spendlove said.  “Furthermore, he asked that Utah’s exchange be the minimum federal standard that all states can use.”

Avenue H is aimed to help small businesses provide health care options for their employees. Under the Affordable Care Act,  it would need to be altered to comply with the law, first to include an option for individuals looking to obtain insurance for themselves, and also a component to determine Medicare and Medicaid eligibility for individuals seeking insurance.

Spendlove says no matter what the response is from Washington, Herbert will have an answer for the Federal Government before the Friday deadline.

“Regardless of a response, on Friday Utah will comply with the ACA, and send in the proper certification for Utah to become a state based exchange based on our current model and our current version of the Utah exchange,” Spendlove told KCPW.

Tuesday’s letter follows a visit Herbert made to the White House last week with other members of the National Governor’s Association Executive Committee.