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Utah lawmakers are faced with a big decision: to expand or not to expand the Medicaid program. But what do we know about the program? What do people in Utah think they know about the program? And what is life like for those getting help from the program? In the KUER News series The Future of Medicaid in Utah, we set out to answer these and other important questions.

Report Finds Increased Medicaid Coverage and Efficiency in Utah

An independent analysis finds Utah’s Medicaid program is using state resources efficiently.  The findings were released this week by Voices for Utah Children, a nonpartisan, advocacy organization. 

The report’s author Allison Rowland thinks the data on Medicaid tells a different story than the rhetoric often heard from politicians. 

“You know we’re hearing a lot in this electoral year about the difficulty the state is having keeping within its budget, and many people who are running for office are actually suggesting that Medicaid is the root of the problem,” said Rowland, “We did not believe that was the case, and we wanted to look at the numbers, and see if that really was the case.”

Based on state data, Rowland looked at how many people had enrolled since the start of the recent recession - and the cost per person. 

“The interesting thing we found in these numbers, is that Medicaid really is an example of good management in Utah,”  Rowland said, “We have found that the program has expanded in terms of the number of people served, and at the same time the cost per enrollee has fallen.”

The data shows that Utah spends 16 percent less per Medicaid enrollee now than it did in 2007, and that 108,000 additional people have signed on to the program since that time.  The report also shows that the share of Utah’s budget spent on Medicaid has hovered at or below eight percent for the past six years.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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