We'll see where this goes after the less-than-enthusiastic response to the state's Medicaid waiver was finally approved. Both The Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News wrote lukewarm editorials supporting the waiver. In other words, it's better than throwing acid in the faces of the sick and needy. Meanwhile, many Utahns want to see Medicaid expanded but because the Legislature hasn't made that happen, a stalwart group of citizens is working to put an initiative on the ballot next year to do just that. Still, it's like screaming into the wind. The "men in charge"—both state and federal—simply don't get it. Worse yet: "Even if the Medicaid measure wins in 2018, its effects could be short lived if Congress repeals Obamacare," the Trib wrote.
Elephant in the Room
"I think we all want to elect Republicans," GOP State Chairman Rob Anderson said. Well, duh. In Utah, you could throw out every single official Republican and their party structure, and Republicans would still be elected. That's not what SB54 was about. The 2014 law allows candidates to bypass the cozy caucus system and the insiders-only convention to gather names for a ballot presence in the primary. But the state party bickered over continuing a lawsuit to scuttle the law, which was a compromise hardliners don't like. Now they still face a $330,000 legal bill and an initiative to get rid of the entire caucus-convention system. The GOP elite (they call themselves "grassroots") wanted to fire Anderson, too, but settled for pressing on with its lawsuit while fighting the new initiative. Apparently, money is no object.
While Utah can't bring itself to legislate anything that would clean the air, at least someone is trying to help a small-but-dirty few. The Utah Clean Air Partnership is offering $1,000 vouchers to 80 households willing to trade their wood-burning stoves or fireplaces for natural gas. There are only an estimated 185,000 wood stoves in Northern Utah, but they pump out 1.7 million pounds of particulate and gas emissions, the Utah Division of Air Quality says. Meanwhile, 13 federal agencies released a report that—once again—definitively says that climate change is human-caused. No, the president doesn't "believe" it, according to BBC News. But the Utah Museum of Natural History does (it unveiled a video game about balancing population and environment), and so does a panel of conservatives, which, according to the Trib, says the issue is just too scary for Utah leaders.