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Crossroads Connects Hunger and High Cost of Healthcare

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 Centerand 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.

“What we found was that people were more likely to skip meals or have to go to a food pantry or have to skip medical care because they did not have insurance,” said Hurder.

Tens of thousands of Utahns living in poverty do not qualify for Medicaid and do not receive health insurance from their employer, according to Crossroads Associate Director Bill Tibbitts.

“Our study shows that that leads to a lot of unnecessary suffering, and we are hoping that Governor Herbert will include the Medicaid expansion in his budget that he’s going to present next month,” said Tibbitts.

The Affordable Care Act expands Medicaid to cover everyone who is eligible for the Food Stamp Program, but the US Supreme Court ruled this summer that states can make that decision for themselves. Utah lawmakers have said they will not make a decision on whether to expand Medicaid until the next legislative session.

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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