Letter: Just expanding Medicaid is most bang for buck

First Published Jul 23 2014 05:13PM      Last Updated Jul 23 2014 05:13 pm

On Thursday you reported ("Cost of health insurance expansion will rise for Utah as more people found without coverage," July 17) how local residents and health professionals are advocating for the expansion of Medicaid and Gov. Herbert’s "Healthy Utah Plan," as thousands’ income levels are deemed ineligible for health care aid.

When analyzing Healthy Utah, there are no clear differences between the new plan and proposed Medicaid expansion. In both cases, the level of poverty would be adjusted to include more enrollees. Healthy Utah also proposes services identical to the Affordable Care Act (using funding to assist people purchasing private insurance plans). Might the motives of Herbert’s plan be to simply keep funding dollars away from the public programs that his party universally dislikes?

As a UC Berkeley student studying public policy, I find it more effective to expand the program that is already in place. New enrollees would not have to meet the separate requirements of Herbert’s plan (including a work requirement, proved sometimes impossible by this article’s featured family). Also, if the Utah Legislature expanded Medicaid to cover more beneficiaries, the state would receive more funding from the federal government through the Federal Matching Assistance Program. Finally, instead of creating a program that requires large start-up funding and tax dollars, Herbert should invest his efforts in helping uninsured Utahns enroll for assistance through ACA, coverage that millions of Americans are benefitting from.

Eric Wilcox

Salt Lake City





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