Last week Governor Gary Herbert ordered the Utah Department of Health to stop passing federal money to Planned Parenthood following the release of secretly-recorded videos by an anti-abortion group showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing the providing of fetal tissue from abortions for medical research.
State Senator Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, says he personally appreciates the services provided by Planned Parenthood which include the best sex education-abstinence program available. Hillyard also says when someone is sexually assaulted Planned Parenthood sends the person to a medical provider to check for sexually-transmitted diseases.
“If they cut that money out you’re going to have to replace it hopefully someplace else and hopefully there’s another provider,” Hillyard says. “Certainly a woman who has been sexually assaulted needs to have that kind of care given, that she has some idea if she has contracted a sexually-transmitted disease with everything she has to worry about.
“In my mind, I understand why the governor is saying it’s symbolic but I think these are services that Planned Parenthood give that I think anyone, any man on the street, any woman on the street would agree are good valuable services and we need to have them provided.”
Governor Herbert has said the money now going to contracts with Planned Parenthood will be re-directed to other agencies providing the services.
Now that the re-location of the new state prison has been resolved, Utah legislators are expected to step up their efforts to decide how to handle Medicaid expansion.
Hillyard, who is chairman of the Senate’s executive appropriations committee, says a so-called “gang of six” is expected to come up with a compromise with Governor Gary Herbert’s Healthy Utah plan.
Hillyard says he recently attended a meeting in Seattle where lawmakers from all over the country agreed this is a major issue.
“The number one issue that these states, even where they’ve expanded Medicaid, is how are we going to continue to pay for this?” Hillyard exclaims. “It’s much greater than we ever anticipated.
“People get an expectation that they are going to have that benefit so it’s a cost to me, personally. You solve health care by reducing the costs.”
Hillyard says Utahns have been helped by the fact that many doctors and dentists have offered charity care to patients. In fact, he says unfortunately elected officials in Washington can’t seem to get together to see what can be done to resolve this issue although they agree the current program is unsustainable.