Medicaid Mess | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Medicaid Mess 

Also: Take a Deep Breath, SunCrest Stalls

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Medicaid Mess
Looks like Gov. Gary Herbert has bought into the notion that volunteers can take care of the messy Medicaid problem. That notion has been documented by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which presented the paper “Replacing the Medicaid System with Real Charity” at its spring task-force summit. OK, admittedly, the Medicaid bureaucracy is a boondoggle and could use some reforming. But to throw it out? ALEC noted that Medicaid takes a quarter to a third of the average state budget, and doctors are so poorly paid that they often opt out of the program. So, it’s even more ponderous to imagine that enough doctors are going to agree to give their services for free. Ostensibly, this will be done through tax credits. But they have to be pre-approved and can’t exceed $2 million per year. Sounds like another bureaucracy in the making, doesn’t it?

Take a Deep Breath
Breathe deeply and hope. The Legislature’s Economic Development Task Force spent its first session on air quality and how it impacts business recruitment. First off, don’t bring prospective businesses to the state in the winter—too much pollution. Meanwhile, the Department of Air Quality is looking at ways to reduce pollution—but neglects to go after the big polluters, like the oil refineries. Cache County, where breathing is shallow, is none too happy about possible vehicle emission and maintenance requirements. But what’s the alternative? Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber, listened to the concerns of a West High School student and may have a bill to examine how climate change means more wildfires. It seems that lawmakers are listening.

Flew Too Close to the Sun
There ought to be a lesson in here somewhere. The Draper City Council was just all a-twitter over the thought of new development high above the town. High is the operative word. The U.S. Geological Service tried to make it clear that the slopes for the proposed SunCrest development would not sustain all that growth, but nevermind. There have been lots of court battles and then a bankruptcy that left the utility-starved landowners in the lurch. Now, the plan is for Zions Bank to sell some of the 4,500 acres back to the city. Supposedly, that means a bunch of open space. Developer and former plaintiff Dave Mast argues that there are only 300 acres of developable land, and each acre will cost about $18,667—not $2,500 as the city suggests. Years in the making, this doesn’t look like it will end well.
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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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