What is the next step? A question often asked when seeking progress. It is a question that should be asked to those who voted against Medicaid expansion last Wednesday at the capitol.
What is there to fear with expanding Medicaid? Regardless of the decision, Utah will spend $343 million a year for Medicaid. With expansion, the projected annual spending will only increase to $364 million. The federal government has agreed to provide 100% of the additional cost for the first three years, and the federal share will never drop below 90%.
The taxpayers of Utah have already provided the funding that will come from Washington. If we choose not to expand, the funding will be shifted to another state. Translation: the taxpayers of Utah have already paid for Medicaid expansion, regardless of the state’s decision.
Rather than paying for another state’s Medicaid reform, it would be wise to invest in the underprivileged citizens of Utah. At the heart of this discussion are the 145,000 individuals who would benefit from expanding Medicaid. What message are we sending if we choose to invest in another state’s uninsured citizens?
By expanding Medicaid, Utah will broaden its view of those who are in dire need of assistance. An additional 145,000 individuals will be granted access to quality healthcare. The decision not to expand will exclude those 145,000 and ultimately eliminate them from the discussion. For those of us who are privileged and have access to quality healthcare, the question should be; how can I share my prosperity? How can I help others improve their situation? Created through expansion, is an opportunity to reach out to 145,000 individuals and prove that we care and are willing to sacrifice the necessary time and consideration to improve their lives.
By choosing to expand Medicaid we choose action and progression. Rather than holding our ground, we take a step forward. So again, for those who oppose Medicaid expansion, what is the next step?