Coalition for a Compassionate Utah seeks medicaid expansion

We joined with about a dozen other groups (the list continues to grow) today to launch the Coalition for a Compassionate Utah. Our mission is singular: persuade Governor Herbert to accept Medicaid expansion.

coalition for a compassionate utah image

Cooperating organizations include:

  • Alliance for a Better UTAH
  • Voices for Utah Children
  • League of Women Voters of Utah
  • Utahns Against Hunger
  • Utah Parents Against Gun Violence
  • Planned Parenthood Action Council
  • Equality Utah
  • Sierra Club
  • Utah AFL/CIO
  • Utah Votes
  • HEAL Utah

The success of the Coalition for a Compassionate Utah depends on the members and supporters within each of the groups, though. This is where you come in.

We need your help. Please take a brief moment to tell Governor Herbert to expand medicaid by going to www.compassionateutah.org. The webpage features a short form for you to fill out and then gives you the option to either call or email the governor. It’s that simple. 

Why is this issue so important? The list of groups includes several that have a specific low-income focus, but most are concerned with a variety of other social issues. What we’ve found, however, is that Medicaid expansion affects each of our organizations, even if indirectly. Each of our organizations have members and supporters who will likely benefit from Medicaid expansion.

I’ve written on the importance of expanding Medicaid before, but it’s worth listing off those facts again:

  • Expansion will generate an additional $2.3 billion in economic impact statewide

  • Add over 4000 jobs to Utah’s economy

  • Save hospitals $814 million in unpaid medical costs

  • Bring in an additional 113 million dollars in tax revenue

And that’s only the economic consideration. What the Coalition for a Compassionate Utah suggests, I hope, is that Medicaid expansion is more than sound economic policy, it’s also about compassion, as this video by Voices for Utah Children demonstrates so well. More than 123,000 Utahns will have access to health insurance if Utah expands Medicaid. It’s hard to underestimate the significance of the peace of mind that will come for these families.

It’s also an issue of fairness. The Affordable Care Act was originally written to expand Medicaid to 138% of the federal poverty level and then provide tax subsidies for Americans who made too much for Medicaid, but not enough to purchase insurance on their own. Then the Supreme Court ruled that states could choose whether or not to expand Medicaid. Their decision created a coverage gap, or a whole class of people no longer eligible for Medicaid, but not eligible for premium tax credits. The figure below from the Kaiser Family Foundation makes this point visually.

coverage gap image

Governor Herbert will have to make an official decision about Medicaid expansion some time over the next few months. Unfortunately, no one other than the Governor and his close advisers know when that decision will be made. Until then, it’s up to ordinary Utahns like you and me to give him the opportunity to say ‘Yes.’

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