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Senate OKs bill to to expand family planning services through Medicaid

SHARE Senate OKs bill to to expand family planning services through Medicaid

The Capitol in Salt Lake City is pictured on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Senate gave final approval to a bill that would allow more Utahns to receive family planning services and birth control under Medicaid.

SB74 soared through the Senate 23-1 on the third reading Tuesday and will head to the House for consideration.

The bill would require the state Division of Health Care Financing to apply for a Medicaid waiver or state plan amendment seeking a 90/10 match of federal government funds. If approved, Utah women who make up to 250% of the federal poverty level — equaling about $30,000 a year — would be given access to family planning services.

The legislation, according to bill sponsor Sen. Derek Kitchen, D-Salt Lake City, would also prevent around 2,000 unintended pregnancies and 730 abortions a year.

The bill was amended during debate Monday after Republican lawmakers expressed concerns that the legislation would override a parent’s right to choose whether or not their child should have access to contraceptives.

Kitchen brought an amended version of the bill before the Senate Tuesday that would exclude minors from the services, however, he clarified that most children that would have been covered under the original bill already have access through alternative services such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

For this reason and in consultation with those who had expressed concerns, Kitchen said he decided to stick with the floor amendment rather than seeking to introduce another amendment to make it so minors could get access under his bill with parental permission.

“There’s some concern that any amendments beyond what we amended yesterday might stall this policy from moving forward,” Kitchen said. “The consensus among all of us is to move forward with the amendment as proposed.”