A group of non-profit and advocacy organizations launched a new coalition today that is asking the governor to expand Medicaid benefits.
The new Coalition for a Compassionate Utah is made up of 11 non-profit and advocacy groups including Voices for Utah Children, the League of Women Voters, Equality Utah and the Alliance for a Better Utah. The Alliance’s Maryann Martindale says she believes the coalition brings a whole new set of voices to the governor’s attention that don’t typically get involved in health care advocacy.
“We have a broad reach," she says. "We have constituents and supporters and family and friends and those are people that we’re reaching out to say, Governor Herbert this is actually everyone’s issue.”
Governor Herbert says he hasn’t ruled out a full expansion of Medicaid benefits and he’s still weighing all of his options. He says he could make a decision by the end of the year.
Karen Crompton is the president of Voices for Utah Children. She says the fact that he hasn’t said no already is good news.
“There were a number of states that right out of the box that said no, and not so politely either," Crompton says. "So, I still think he’s open, I wish he’d make up his mind and say, yes, of course, but the fact that it’s still on the table is an opportunity for us to weigh in.”
Leaders of the organizations in the coalition say they are worried that if the Governor doesn’t expand Medicaid benefits there will be thousands of Utahns that fall into a coverage gap. These people won’t qualify for Medicaid or subsidies in the federal health insurance marketplace.
The coalition is planning a rally at the State Capitol for November 20.