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Letter: Church cut DI wages, now it should back Medicaid

Published November 28, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In anticipation of the Affordable Care Act's requirement that large employers must provide health insurance to employees who work 30 hours or more a week, last May the LDS Church-owned Deseret Industries cut workers' hours to avoid having to give them insurance. It did this in order to "serve as many people as possible."

Some people grumbled about the church's insensitivity to the needs of these people; others pointed out that many of these people qualified for Medicaid and would thus have health insurance.

So it now seems a bit odd that when Utah's churches join together in petitioning Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to expand Medicaid for the very employees who the LDS Church refuses to cover — people who can't afford insurance on their $7.25 an hour wage — the church is silent.

I hope this situation is similar to the LDS Church on immigration: being independent, it wouldn't sign the Utah Compact, but it issued its own statement of support. Otherwise, if the church does care about the poor (and I believe it does), it needs to propose an alternate plan for health care for the poor.

Ralph Stevenson

Park City