The Utah Department of Health has hired an outside firm to study the costs and benefits of expanding Medicaid in the state. The department has been gathering feedback from the public on what should be considered in the study.
Christina Osburn has a brain tumor and epilepsy. She’s been on Medicaid for more than 10 years, but she expects to lose that coverage because her income will soon exceed the threshold to qualify.
Low-income advocates are asking Governor Gary Herbert to remember Utahns who can’t afford basic healthcare this holiday season. On Friday, staff from Crossroads Urban Center and some uninsured Utahns presented results from a survey showing the connection between hunger and high healthcare costs.
Crossroads Urban Center surveyed more than 300 of the people they helped with food this year. Marjorie Hurder is a Social Justice Advocate at the Center, and she conducted many of the interviews.
Governor Gary Herbert plans to send a letter to the US Department of Health and Human Services Friday declaring the state’s intentions on its health insurance exchange. Up until now, the Governor’s Office has not said whether the state will update its existing exchange, Avenue H, to meet requirements of the Affordable Care Act - or let the feds create their own exchange in the state. But Utah’s Health Reform Implementation Coordinator Norman Thurston says the letter doesn’t commit the state to anything.
The state Legislature discusses a proposal to fix the state’s data security issues, the governor’s public lands policy coordinator says a lot more study needs to be done before taking over federal lands, and Salt Lake City conducts a community food assessment.
The state Health and Human Services interim committee unanimously supported draft legislation Wednesday aimed at fixing problems related to the state’s Medicaid data breach that left more than 800 thousand Utahn’s personal information vulnerable.
The Affordable Care Act promises to extend the reach of health care coverage to many people who don’t have it now. Critics say it will do that at a huge cost in both money and individual liberty. But the mandate in the law for nearly everyone to buy health insurance has been upheld by the U-S Supreme Court and that requirement will take effect in 2014. The question facing Utah and the rest of country is how to implement the provisions that are maintained by the states.
The State Department of Health is moving forward on an overhaul of the Medicaid system despite opposition. Utah’s new managed care contracts are designed to save the state money and are slated to go into effect in January, but some health advocates say the proposed contracts do not ensure quality care for patients. And the state’s Inspector General says the contracts do not ensure proper oversight of Medicaid funds. KUER’s Andrea Smardon reports.