Advocate coalition says groups feel ignored by Hatch, Lee in AHCA deliberations

Hans Koepsell, Deseret News

FILE – Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, meets with reporters and members of the editorial board at the Deseret News in Salt Lake City, Monday, Aug. 29, 2016. The Healthier Utah Coalition’s member organizations are disheartened by what they believe is the U.S. Senate’s secretive handling of the American Health Care Act, a bill that they have deep reservations about.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Healthier Utah Coalition’s member organizations are disheartened by what they believe is the U.S. Senate’s secretive handling of the American Health Care Act, a bill that they have deep reservations about.

And it is a sentiment that Sen. Mike Lee apparently has himself. Lee told constituents in a Facebook Live video Tuesday that “if you are frustrated by the lack of transparency in this process, I share your frustration.”

Coalition members — including representatives from AARP, Utah Health Policy Project, Voices for Utah’s Children and the Utah Disability Law Center — told the Deseret News and KSL editorial boards Monday that Sens. Orrin Hatch and Lee are not listening to them as credible stakeholders in health care reform.

Micah Vorwaller, health policy analyst for the Utah Health Policy Project, said the usual flow of information between that organization and Utah’s congressional leaders, normally constant, has dried up as the American Health Care Act has taken center stage in health care reform.

“We (typically) receive a lot of contacts from our federal delegates and staff asking for … information and data,” Vorwaller said. “But (not now). When no one’s really asking or listening or accepting, we become even more…

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