With Obamacare Repeal, Report Estimates Loss Of Health Coverage For Utah Kids

Jan 24, 2017

A new report published by Washington think tank the Urban Institute attempts to analyze how many children could lose health insurance with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. In Utah, where big families are common, that number is especially large. 

According to the Urban Institute’s report, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act would more than double the number of children without health insurance in Utah, if a replacement plan is not created.

Jessie Mandle focuses on health policy at Voices for Utah Children, a Salt Lake City group that advocates for issues related to kids.

"We’re at about 65,000 kids right now who do not have insurance, so we are one of the highest in the nation. We are the highest in the nation for uninsured Hispanic kids," Mandle says. 

According to the report, another 73,000 kids would go uninsured in Utah if the ACA is repealed and nothing takes its place.

Mandle also worries about how a repeal of Obamacare would ripple into other low-income health programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.

“They are really intertwined and they provide the foundation for children’s health coverage in our state. So, to change or repeal or cut one, will affect all of them,” Mandle says. 

Boyd Matheson, the President of the Sutherland Institute, is less concerned about the future of healthcare under the Trump administration.

"I haven’t spoken with anyone in Washington who hasn’t accounted for some sort of glide path so that we’re not going to have that uncertainty, we’re not going to have gaps in coverage, we’re not going to have people uninsured," Matheson says. 

On Monday one of the first replacement proposals came out from Senators in Louisiana and Maine. It’s called the Patient Freedom Act of 2017, Overall, it would allow states to have more control, even if that means they decide to keep Obamacare.