Governor Herbert is in the process of deciding whether or not Utah should expand Medicaid. Many people may wonder whether the expansion will be worth the cost and effort. A new report by the Public Focus Group shows that fully expanding Medicaid will benefit Utah's budget by bringing federal money collected through taxes back to Utah, and by stimulating hiring in the healthcare industry. The Medicaid expansion would also provide health insurance coverage to 36,104 low income adults in 2014 and grow to cover 92,158 in 2015. In years after 2015 the program would grow much more slowly.
How would obtaining Medicaid coverage help uninsured people? Medicaid covers physical and mental health services and so people who currently cannot afford treatment for conditions that prevent them from working could get the help they need to be able to go back to work. Many of the adults who would benefit from the Medicaid expansion are currently working at jobs that do not provide health insurance. A study has shown that workers with health insurance miss 52 percent fewer workdays than employees without health insurance.
Providing health insurance to those who cannot afford it will also save lives. Another study has shown that expanding Medicaid saves 19.6 lives per year for every 100,000 people who are covered. This means that if Utah expands Medicaid then about 18 lives will be saved from the 92,158 who would obtain coverage in 2015. The number of lives saved in years after 2015 would grow as the population of our state grows and more people need help. How valuable are the lives of those people?
Help us ask Governor Herbert this question by going to his website, here, and sending him a short message.