The long-awaited release of the analysis of whether or not Utah should expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act—paid for by Utah taxpayers—is finally here. Read the full analysis below.
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka: Obamacare), medicaid expansion would be paid for 100 percent by the federal government for the first three years. After the three years, federal support would taper off slightly during the next decade, but would always cover at least 90 percent of the costs.
The Utah Health Policy Project has estimated there are more than 100,000 Utahns who currently are unable to get health insurance through their employers, yet because their income is just slightly over the federal poverty level—$1,284 per month for an individual—they do not qualify for medicaid either and remain uninsured.
Under the ACA provisions which will take effect in January 2014, Utahns will be required by law to carry personal health insurance. For those who are not covered under their employers, a federal health exchange will be in place where you can compare different plans and purchase them online.
But many Utahns, including those who are just above the federal poverty limit, do not face the mandatory insurance requirement of the ACA – which exempts low income individuals. But the need is still just as real, as these people are unable to see a primary care physician or any other medical provider for basic treatment needs or medications, which ultimately results in illnesses or injuries building up until they are forced to go to an expensive emergency room. Those ER costs, if (likely) unpaid by the person who is so poor they cannot afford health insurance, are ultimately passed on to everyone else in the form of higher prices at hospitals and higher insurance rates.
As of this writing, 26 states have decided to expand their medicaid programs and 15 states have declined. In Utah, the decision rests with the Governor.
You can see the Utah Health Policy Project’s reaction to the analysis HERE.
Read the report from PCG below: