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Utahns in the ‘Medicaid gap’ are working; here’s where
Health insurance » Most of those who would be covered under a Medicaid expansion have jobs.

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"When I lost my job, I almost immediately looked for what I could do to take care of myself and started this business. ... I’m doing the right thing and figured that by doing the right thing, the system would be there to help when I needed it," she said.

"People tend to brush me off and say, ‘you’re one person who falls through the cracks,’ " she said. "Maybe if they tell themselves that, they can sleep at night. But there are tens of thousands of us out there."

At a glance

Where Utahns who would benefit from an expansion work

Projections differ on how many Utahns would benefit by expanding Medicaid, from 111,000 to the 140,000 figure cited in a new report by Families USA and the Utah Health Policy Project.

Of those, the report says, 92,000 are employed as follows:

» 12,898 food service

» 12,543 retail sales

» 11,338 office and administrative support, including hotel clerks and messengers

» 9,660 construction

» 8,631 cleaning and maintenance

» 7,177 production, including butchers, laundry workers and tailors

» 6,295 transportation, including bus and taxi drivers and parking attendants

» 4,848 personal care, including barbers, child care workers and personal care aides

» 3,763 management

» 14,773 miscellaneous other jobs

Herbert’s ‘Healthy Utah’ proposal

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert wants to use public Medicaid dollars to buy private coverage for an estimated 111,000 Utahns with incomes up to 138 percent of federal poverty, or $15,856 for an individual or $31,322 for a family of four.

Participants in his “Healthy Utah” plan would have to contribute an average of $420 a year toward their health care.

Some would face a work requirement. Low-income parents whose children are on Medicaid could get financial help to move the whole family onto a private health plan.

“On private insurance, they can probably get better quality of care and will have more insurance choices to fit their unique [health] needs,” Herbert said. “Nobody’s getting a free ride; they’ve got to put skin in the game. It’ll make for a better program with better outcomes and give us better bang for the buck.”

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