With the Utah House failing to support SB164 Healthy Utah during a committee hearing Wednesday night—advancing HB446 Utah Cares instead—hundreds rallied at the capitol Thursday, March 4, in support of Governor Herbert’s bill. AARP Utah State Director joined legislators, religious leaders, citizen advocates, and health professionals to ask, "What's the hold up?" His comments are below:
Hello everyone, and welcome to this rally in support of Healthy Utah! My name is Alan Ormsby, and I am the State Director of AARP Utah. On behalf of our 206,000 members in the state, I am here to say that we support Healthy Utah!
And at this point, there is really only one question that I have…what is the hold up? What is the hold up?
Is it the cost? The Utah legislature prides itself on being the best run, most fiscally sound legislature in all the land. Yet they seem to have a blind spot a mile wide when it comes to health care. Healthy Utah costs the least, helps the most, covers everyone so we won’t have people coming out of the woodwork creating unknown costs, and helps us recover $3.2 billion of our own tax dollars in the next 5 years. Alternative plans cost more per person, cover fewer people, will create a significant and unknown woodwork effect, and throw away billions of our tax dollars. It can’t be the cost, so what is the hold up?
Is it the support? 88% of Utahns favor Healthy Utah over doing nothing. 88%, almost 9 in 10! You can barely get 88% of Utahns to agree that the earth is round…88% is overwhelming support. It can’t be the support, so what is the hold up?
Is it fear of sustainability? The Senate heard the fears over sustainability loud and clear! So they created a substitute bill with a two-year sunset. If the feds don’t hold up their end of the bargain, if the program doesn’t work as advertised, the sunset will be exercised. It can’t be fear of sustainability, so what is the hold up?
Is it the community partners? I have never seen a bill with more support from a more diverse list of community partners. From the Utah Hospital Association, to the Catholic Church, to every social services agency, to the entire mental health system, to the Deseret News and the Tribune, nearly every community partner supports Healthy Utah. It can’t be the community partners, so what is the hold up?
Is it the lack of debate? Healthy Utah has been carefully crafted over the past nearly two years, with many, many opportunities along the way for public input. The alternative “plans” have barely emerged. Healthy Utah has been subjected to the sunshine of public scrutiny, while the alternatives have been hatched in the dark. It can’t be the lack of debate, so what is the hold up?
Is it not a Utah plan? Governor Herbert should be commended for creating a one-of-a-kind Utah solution. This is a plan for Utahns, by Utahns, benefitting the most Utahns possible. It most certainly is a Utah plan, so what is the hold up?
The only hold up, the only possible hold up, is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear over people. Fear over economic sense. Fear that if they vote the right way, the smart way, they will have violated some cryptic, mysterious ideology.
So what can we do? Let’s get rid of their fear, let’s give them the confidence to know that voting for Healthy Utah is a vote for a known, vetted plan. A Utah-specific plan. Let’s give them the confidence to know that a vote for Healthy Utah is a vote for people, for your neighbors, for workers. Let’s give them the confidence to know that a vote for Healthy Utah is a vote for improving Utah’s economy, for bringing our taxes back home.
They need to hear from us. We can overcome their fears. They need to know their constituents support Healthy Utah! Thank you for attending this rally, thank you for talking to your legislators and thank you for letting your voice ring out and your support of Healthy Utah be counted.