Lockhart and retiring Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, sent a letter to the governor in November stating that legislative leaders "decided unanimously that Utah should not spend any state time or money to build and run a federal exchange program."
Judi Hilman, Utah Health Policy Project executive director, said there's plenty of work ahead for Utah leaders.
She said it's "a big step to go from providing health coverage to 7,000 small-business employees to offering affordable health coverage to Utah's 400,000 uninsured residents in less than a year."
And while Utah has been a pioneer in state-run health care reform with Avenue H, Hilman said the exchange still falls short of new requirements for consumer assistance, transparent government and some health benefits.
Hilman and Jason Stevenson, the policy project's education and communications director, said they will work with other groups to keep the pressure on state leaders to include those protections.
"Just because Utah has requested significant flexibility to design a state-run exchange doesn't mean that Utah's residents should be denied the protections mandated by the Affordable Care Act and offered by other states," Stevenson said.
Contributing: Associated Press
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