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Letter: Poor Utah families caught in black hole without Medicaid
First Published Feb 17 2014 01:43 pm • Last Updated Feb 17 2014 01:43 pm

I serve as an inner-city LDS missionary. I was asked to assist a man I’ll call DW who is a "29-hour-a-week employee" of the Salt Lake City School District. Hence, no insurance. Utah denied DW and his wife, SW, Medicaid coverage because there are two working adults in the household.

DW had a dizzy spell. The emergency-room doctor sent him for an MRI of his brain, and $5,000 of debt later, DW was declared OK.

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My mission: to help the couple get insurance. After going through the healthcare.gov application process with DW, we were told that the couple are too poor to be paying for insurance: "They should be covered by Medicaid."

The DW and SW family is in that black hole created by Gov. Gary Herbert and the Legislature’s determination to reject expanded Medicaid offered by the federal government. The rejection of expanded Medicaid is justified in the name of principle, a kind label for political pride.

How many families are out there, caught in this black hole of pride. None of the decision makers suffer the consequences. The price of pride, once again, is borne by the poor.

Dennis R. James


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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