Problem of uninsured children could be fixed by Medicaid expansion

Last week I introduced the Affordable Care Act and outlined the support of several policies contained within the law. One issue I neglected to feature was the expansion of Medicaid. Last June, the Supreme Court reviewed the ACA and ruled that each state will decide whether or not to participate in Medicaid expansion. This subject brings with it an array of controversy. In Utah, there are more than 375,000 individuals who are without health insurance. The fact that so many families go day-to-day without coverage deserves our utmost attention.

I understand that Medicaid is an issue of great magnitude and to expect an overnight fix is unrealistic. What I find alarming is that America has provided a solution and there is very little discussion on how to implement the proposed relief here in Utah.

It is never my intention to impose on someone what to think or how to vote. However, I do feel it necessary to present the issues and the facts behind each matter and allow each citizen to choose for themselves.

Here are only a few facts to consider before making your decision on whether it is in the best interests of the hundreds of thousands in Utah who rely on Medicaid.

  • Utah’s percentage of residents who are uninsured is higher than ever at 13.4%, or 377,700
  • Of the 377,000 that are uninsured, 102,900 are children
  • With expansion, of those 377,000, 145,000 will be eligible for health care
  • Of those 145,000, an estimated 38,400 are children

An estimated 38,400 children could receive health care if we choose to expand Medicaid.

Health care is often viewed through the same lens as our state’s current climate debate: It seems everybody wants to talk about it, but nobody ever does anything to solve it. Now is the time to act and take a major step forward in solving our ongoing health care dilemma.

I am aware there is more to consider than the number of those uninsured. Each law carries with it not only moral and social consideration but fiscal responsibility as well. Next week I will outline the fiscal implications of expanding Medicaid and the opportunities we lose if we choose not to expand.

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