I was recently speaking to a friend about Medicaid expansion. We both agreed this is a matter that goes beyond providing healthcare for more than 140,000 individuals in Utah. We discussed issues such as appropriate qualifications for Medicaid, alternatives of utilizing the promised funds from Washington, if it is wise waiting to expand and whether or not the federal government will be able to fulfill its promise of covering 100% of the cost for the next three years and then 90% for each year thereafter.
I support the expansion of Medicaid. My support goes beyond the needs of those 140,000 individuals. This past fall, the focus of the presidential election was our economy and solutions to providing jobs for the middle class. A variety of plans were submitted to the American people, with little consideration on what health care expansion would do for our economy and job creation.
When President Obama was reelected, the future viability of the Affordable Care Act was ensured. Beyond the federal mandates of the act, each state will have the opportunity to choose to allow Medicaid expansion. Last week Governor Herbert declared that there would be no decision made on Medicaid until after this year’s legislative session, which means the discussion will continue for the next few months.
Before concluding that expanding Medicaid is not viable for Utah please consider the following:
According to the Utah Health Policy Project, over the next five years, the total funding provided by the federal government would generate
- $466 million in state tax revenues
- $3.3 billion in salaries and wages
- 120,000 jobs
As a junior studying health communication, I find assurance in the fact that there will be 120,000 new jobs created in the health care industry. That assurance will only be realized with the expansion of Medicaid.
Trusting in a promise to provide funding for Medicaid can be difficult. When coming to a conclusion, please consider those you know that desire a career in healthcare. That desire can be fulfilled through the expansion of Medicaid.