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CMS administrator Seema Verma. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Utah lawmakers have answered the big questions about how they would seek to overturn a popular vote in favor of adopting the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion. Now the question is whether the Trump administration will let it happen.

Driving the news: Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed off on a bill yesterday to adopt only a partial Medicaid expansion — something the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has never before approved.

Details: Utah wants to only expand Medicaid to people whose incomes are at or below the poverty line, as opposed to the full expansion, which goes up to 138% of the poverty line.

  • But Utah wants full federal funding for its partial expansion.
  • State officials say they've gotten informal encouragement from CMS — including from administrator Seema Verma.

And the cuts could get bigger: Two officials from Herbert's administration told the Washington Post that CMS signaled the partial expansion would be on stronger footing if Utah also sought a per-person cap on Medicaid spending.

  • That would be an even more dramatic change, reviving one of the most contentious ideas from Republicans' repeal-and-replace bills in 2017.

What's next: If CMS approves the partial expansion, expect lawsuits to follow immediately.

  • One big change: Earlier versions of the Utah measure would have canceled the expansion altogether if CMS rejects the state's waiver, but the final version instead would implement the full expansion as a fallback in that case, per the Desert News.

Go deeper: States are using Medicaid to target social needs

Go deeper

6 mins ago - Health

FDA advisory panel endorses Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Cezary Kowalski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday recommended the authorization of Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot coronavirus vaccine for emergency use.

Why it matters: The FDA is expected to make a final decision within days on the J&J vaccine, which was found to be 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID. An emergency use authorization would allow distribution to immediately begin, helping streamline and speed up the vaccine rollout across the U.S.

Dave Lawler, author of World
8 mins ago - World

Schiff: "Definitive" Khashoggi report sends clear message to Saudis

Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The report released Friday on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was short on evidence or new information, but Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) tells Axios that the “definitive” statement assigning responsibility to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) speaks volumes.

What he’s saying: Schiff, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, says that while some intelligence couldn’t be published because of the need to protect sources and methods, “we rarely see something published that is this definitive and I think that's an important accomplishment for the administration.”

Exclusive: Law enforcement organizations back Biden pick for assistant AG

Vanita Gupta Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Local and federal law enforcement officials are backing Vanita Gupta, President Biden’s nominee for associate attorney general, according to letters sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee and obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The Major County Sheriffs of America noted Gupta “emphasized that she does not support efforts to ‘defund the police'” and highlighted her desire to improve criminal justice through methods that include increased training for law enforcement officials.