Senate approves partial Medicaid expansion plan

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Senate has endorsed a Medicaid plan that uses federal dollars to partially expand the program while allowing Gov. Gary Herbert to negotiate with federal officials.

With a vote of 19-6, the Senate sent the measure to the House, where GOP leaders are opposed to accepting federal money.

The Senate-approved plan from Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Salt Lake City, would help about 60,000 people living below the federal poverty level buy private health coverage.

Because of a gap in President Barack Obama's health care law, those people are not covered by Medicaid or eligible for federal subsidies to pay for private insurance.

If federal officials do not approve the plan, Shiozowa's proposal allows Gov. Gary Herbert to continue negotiating with Washington, D.C., to pursue his plan for a block grant.

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