FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 23, 2019
Salt Lake City, UT – The Utah Department of Health announced today that the state received approval to implement one of its fallback Medicaid expansion plans from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This expansion will expand Medicaid eligibility to cover all Utahns up to 138% of the federal poverty limit. However, unlike the voter-approved Proposition 3, this plan substituted by the Utah Legislature includes onerous work requirements, along with other changes still being reviewed by CMS.
Chase Thomas, executive director of Alliance for a Better Utah, issued the following statement:
“The good news that comes from this announcement is that after almost seven years, tens of thousands of Utahns will finally be able to sign up for Medicaid coverage. It took last year’s vote of the people to force the Legislature to do something, but the wait is finally over for Utahns who have desperately needed this coverage.
“The bad news is that this expansion continues to be based on the harmful, conservative ideologies of a majority of our Legislature, rather than the compassionate plan that was passed by a majority of Utahns. Although over a hundred thousand Utahns are now eligible for Medicaid, the bureaucratic hurdles imposed by new work requirements could prove to keep otherwise eligible individuals and families from receiving the medical coverage they need. In addition to violating the compassionate spirit and intent of Proposition 3, we’re sure that Utah courts will agree with courts in Kansas and Arkansas that have found work requirements violate the intent of the Medicaid program.
“As CMS continues to review additional changes, including a ridiculous attempt to charge premiums and surcharges to thousands of enrollees, we hope the Legislature will come to its senses and stop fighting to undermine the will of a majority of Utahns. Utahns voted to be compassionate and help those in our communities who are in need–GOP lawmakers should attempt to reflect those values.”
Alliance for a Better Utah is a nonprofit that holds politicians accountable and advocates for progressive policies that make Utah an even better place. The organization improves the lives of all Utahns through advocacy, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at www.betterutah.org.