Quantcast
blog-photo

Meanwhile, on the Internet

Thousands of Utahns might have qualified for Medicaid, but won’t

First Published Feb 11 2014 03:09PM      Last Updated Feb 11 2014 03:18 pm

(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utahns for the Medicaid Expansion, faith leaders, nurses association members and members of the public participate during a rally at the State Capitol Wednesday November 20, 2013. Medicaid expansion advocates were trying to show Gov. Gary Herbert that they want him to expand the low-income health safety net.

More than 53,800 people along the Wasatch Front might have qualified for Medicaid if Utah had opted into the program’s expansion.

Those numbers come from a new study and interactive map produced the Urban Institute. The map looks at Medicaid, which was expanded to include a whole new group of people as a result of Obamacare — or, officially, the Affordable Care Act. Now, people making as much as 138 percent of the poverty level could get Medicaid.

However, states can choose to participate or not in the Medicaid expansion and, in the words of a recent Tribune editorial, the state is "dithering" on the issue.



The result is thousands of Utahns caught in limbo, the Urban Institute speculates. On the east and north sides of Salt Lake County, there are likely 17,400 people who would have qualified for Medicaid under the expansion. The west side of the county is home to 12,600 people in the same category. Utah County had 12,900 people stuck in that same spot while Davis and Weber Counties also had 12,900, collectively.

The people falling into this category are free to buy and get subsidized rates, though as Emily Badger at The Atlantic Cities notes the Medicaid expansion would have made that step unnecessary. Badger also points out that these numbers only include adults, not children, and that the burden of the uninsured falls disproportionately on urban centers.

The Medicaid expansion has been a contentious issue among Utah’s lawmakers. In November, legislators rejected the full expansion. Gov. Gary Herbert later promised that Medicaid would expand, while lawmakers fired back that they would refuse any expansion that involves federal funding.

— Jim Dalrymple II

Twitter: @jimmycdii

 

 

 

 

comments powered by Disqus