The clock is ticking on Medicaid expansion. Beginning January 1, 2014, Utah stands to lose nearly five million dollars in federal tax dollars every single month, according to the Utah Department of Health’s study on medicaid expansion.
To be clear, that five million dollars in monthly losses is money that Utahns are already paying in taxes. By rejecting that money, Governor Herbert is essentially allowing the taxes we pay as Utahns to support medicaid expansion in other states–states like Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. We still have to pay those taxes–we just won’t see any of the benefit here at home.
In fact, of our Western peers, it’s just us and Wyoming who are still exploring whether or not to expand Medicaid. Every other western state, with the exception of Idaho, has opted to fully embrace medicaid expansion. It’s a smart–and pragmatic–decision:
- 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 these figures only represent the immediate economic benefit of expanding Medicaid in Utah. It doesn’t take into account the longterm benefits of a healthier citizenry.