Medicaid Expansion Community Workgroup Holds First Meeting

Apr 23, 2013

A select group of healthcare providers, advocates, and community leaders met at the State Capitol Tuesday to discuss Medicaid, and the state’s pending decision on whether to expand the program to include more uninsured, low-income Utahns. Utah Department of Health Executive Director David Patton brought together about 20 people for the Medicaid workgroup.

“What we’re doing today is to say let’s bring the community together to make sure we’re getting all the different perspectives and all the input we need to make this decision,” Patton told KUER. “There’s no real rush to make this decision, so why not study it, why not look at all the different viewpoints, all the different facts and ideas that we can, just to make sure that we’re making a good decision that’s going to cost the state of Utah a good amount of money.”

Patton says the group’s role is not to provide a single recommendation to the Governor, but to provide information about the advantages and disadvantages of various options the state might pursue. Those options may include a full expansion of Medicaid as specified in the federal Affordable Care Act, a partial expansion, or state-based solutions including premium assistance, block grants, or charity care. Patton says the group will meet monthly and present its findings to the Governor in September. The federal mandate for all individuals to have health insurance goes into effect in January next year.