The Rt. Rev. Scott B. Hayashi told a packed Capitol audience that, as Christians pledged to help the poor among us, we must expand Medicaid to Utah’s 54,000 people who struggle in poverty. His address came a day after Speaker of the House Becky Lockhart said a resounding “no” to the idea of Medicaid Expansion and thus told her chamber to refuse the half-billion dollars that would fund Medicaid Expansion in Utah. Her argument is that we need to be fiscally responsible and not add to the federal burden of debt. She substitued a plan to spend 30 million in State of Utah dollars to assist those in poverty for medical use. Governor Gary Herbert called her plan “illogical”. Bishop Hayashi has worked to keep Medicaid Expansion in front of the legislature and sides with Governor Herbert in accepting the federal dollars.
His remarks were as follows:
I am here NOT representing any political persuasion. I am here to speak for the people who are in need. I also know that you are here the same reason. We must contact our representatives to let them know how we think and feel.
I am here as a Christian pledged to represent our hard working 54 thousand Utah neighbors who struggle below the poverty line and live in fear of having their medical needs for themselves and their children go unmet..
The most basic foundation of my religion and in fact of ALL religions — is to take care of the poor… to love thy neighbor… to share our bountiful harvest…
Utah is one of the most religious states of the United States of America. Therefore, I ask WHY SAY NO to Medicaid Expansion… WHY SAY NO to our impoverished neighbors… here in one of the most faith-based places on earth.
Speaker Lockhart says WE MUST TAKE A STAND for fiscal responsibility.
IF we wish to TAKE A STAND and draw the line in what we receive from the federal government , if we wish to TAKE A STAND, to draw a line – please draw it somewhere else.
Do NOT draw the line on the backs of our poor… not on our Utah neighbors at all! Taking a stand to reject federal funds almost seems to be equated with patriotism. I do not believe that throwing our poor under the bus is our patriotic duty. In fact it is our patriotic duty to bring justice and dignity to all our people.
I SAY AGAIN, DRAW THE LINE SOMEWHERE ELSE.
I agree with Speaker Lockhart who says WE MUST BE MASTERS OF OUR OWN DESTINY…I pray that our destiny is one measured by helping our neighbors… not excluding them.