Affordable Care Act

Health Care
5:15 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

U Study Shows Medicaid Expansion Population is Bigger than Previously Estimated

University of Utah Economics Professor Norman Waitzman presents his findings to the Utah Health Reform Task Force.
Andrea Smardon KUER

Utah lawmakers were stunned to hear Thursday that the number of people who fall in the so-called health coverage gap is significantly higher than they thought. Researchers from the University of Utah presented results from a new report on the Medicaid eligibility expansion population to a state health committee.

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Health Care
4:10 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Health Advocates Stage Limbo Contest at Lockhart’s Office

Christine Stenquist takes part in a "Lockhart Limbo" contest to highlight the struggles of those living under the poverty line without healthcare in Utah.
Andrea Smardon KUER

Wearing fake grass skirts and plastic leis, health advocates took turns going under a limbo pole in front of House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart’s office Wednesday. The idea was to highlight the plight of Utahns who fall into the Medicaid coverage gap, and the pole was steadily lowered to represent each month this year that they have not been able to pay for healthcare. The mood was light, but Christine Stenquist quickly became emotional when she began talking about why she is taking part in this demonstration.

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Religion
4:27 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

How Does Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Decision Affect Utah?

The US Supreme Court ruled Monday that two private companies with religious objections can avoid the contraceptives requirement in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. It’s the first time the high court has declared that businesses can hold religious views under federal law.

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Health Care
4:51 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Salt Lake County Medicaid Argument Doesn’t Sway Republican Lawmaker

Brian Grimmett

The Salt Lake County Council is sending a letter this week to the Utah legislature asking them to support the Governor’s Healthy Utah Plan and accept Medicaid funds. County councilors have said those federal funds could offset a 12 percent budget shortfall for behavioral health services expected next year. But so far, state lawmakers are holding firm in their positions on Medicaid.

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Health Care
3:50 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Film Highlights Utah’s Health Coverage Gap

Stacy Davis-Stanford is featured in the film highlighting those in the health coverage gap.
"Entitled to Life" screenshot

A film debuting Tuesday in Salt Lake City highlights Utah’s low income citizens who don’t have access to affordable health insurance.  The new documentary tells the stories of Utah adults who fall within the state's coverage gap, earning too little to buy subsidized insurance on healthcare.gov, but too much to receive Medicaid.

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Health Care
4:03 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

Most Utahns in Health “Coverage Gap” are Working

Ilene Martinez works as an assistant manager at a Dollar Tree store in Salt Lake City to support herself and her son Blas Joe Valdez who has lupus, but the family can not afford health insurance.
Andrea Smardon KUER

Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced this week that he’s made good progress negotiating with the federal government on his alternative to Medicaid expansion. The governor says there are still some sticking points in the negotiations – including work requirements for those receiving government assistance. But a new study shows that many of those citizens are already working.

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Health Care
5:08 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Health Care Scorecard: Utah Among Worst for Access and Affordability

A new report shows Utah ranks among the worst states in the nation for access and affordability to health care. The Commonwealth Fund, a non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, DC, released its Scorecard on State Health System Performance this week.

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Health Care
8:46 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

Salt Lake City LDS Ward Helps Congregants Sign Up for Health Insurance

12th Ward, Salt Lake City

Many faith leaders in Utah have been vocal about encouraging lawmakers to expand Medicaid in the state. But the dominant faith – the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – has been silent when it comes to the Affordable Care Act. In the meantime, one LDS ward in downtown Salt Lake City is quietly working to help congregants get access to health insurance.

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Health Care
1:22 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Herbert: Delay Hasn't Hurt Medicaid Alternative

Governor Gary Herbert (R-Utah)
Brian Grimmett

  Governor Gary Herbert says he doesn’t think Utah’s long delay in coming up with an alternative to expanding Medicaid has hurt the prospect of a successful program.

The legislative session ended without action by lawmakers on any proposal for reaching those who aren’t covered by either Medicaid  or the Affordable Care Act.  Governor Herbert has proposed a program funded by block grants from the federal government to buy private health insurance for those people.  He says the Obama administration has indicated it will be flexible in working out a solution.

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Health Care
3:57 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Agriculture Secretary Encourages Rural Utahns to Consider Obamacare

Kanab, Utah is home to Kane County Hospital

US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is encouraging rural Utahns to sign up for health insurance before the federal deadline on Monday. Secretary Vilsack says that Utahns who live in rural areas have a lot to gain from the federal Affordable Care Act.

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Health Care
12:29 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Session Ends with No Medicaid Decision, Talks Continue

File: Utah Governor Gary Herbert
Brian Grimmett

  Another Utah legislative session has ended without a decision on Medicaid, but Governor Gary Herbert and healthcare advocates are declaring a victory of sorts.

Late in the session, Governor Herbert came out with his long-awaited proposal to get health coverage for Utah’s poorest citizens. He wants to use federal dollars to buy private coverage for low-income Utahns, but he first needs approval from the federal government. He asked state lawmakers not to limit him with any legislation that would hinder negotiations with the feds.

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Health Care
4:00 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

House Speaker Criticizes Governor’s Health Plan, calls it Obamacare Expansion

Utah House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart (R-64)
Brian Grimmett

When Governor Gary Herbert laid out his Healthy Utah plan Thursday he said he was confident that it would get support from the state legislature as well as the federal government.  But the governor’s proposal to accept federal money to help low-income Utahns buy health insurance may meet some resistance from Republicans in the state House…. especially the House speaker.

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Health Care
5:02 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Governor Herbert's Health Plan: Take Federal Money, Don’t Expand Medicaid

Governor Herbert announces his plan to help Utah's uninsured.
Brian Grimmett

Governor Gary Herbert announced his long-awaited plan Thursday concerning Medicaid and health coverage for the poorest Utahns. He’s calling it Healthy Utah.

The Supreme Court decided in 2012 to let states choose whether to expand Medicaid as it was intended under the Affordable Care Act. Now, more than a year and a half later, after reviewing proposals from the state house, the senate, and panels of stakeholders, Governor Herbert finally revealed his plan.

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Health Care
4:29 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Senate Republicans Consider Partial Medicaid Expansion

Utah Senator Brian Shiozawa (R-8) is an emergency room doctor.
Brian Grimmett

A Republican state senator has put forth a proposal for a partial expansion of Medicaid in Utah. Senate majority leaders say they are meeting Wednesday night to decide whether they will get behind this proposal, a different House plan that rejects Medicaid dollars, or another solution all together. 

Republican Senator Brian Shiozawa is an Emergency Room doctor. So he’s all too familiar with the coverage gap - those 54,000 Utahns who live in poverty and can’t get health insurance.

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Health Care
4:53 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

No Money in State Budget to Fund GOP Alternative to Medicaid Expansion

Brian Grimmett/KUER file photo

A Republican proposal to provide health coverage for those under the poverty line has advanced to the House floor for consideration, but lawmakers in charge of the budget say there is no money for it at this point, and time is running out to accept any new requests.

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Health Care
11:54 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Salt Lake City Man in Recovery from Heroin Addiction Falls in Coverage Gap

Salt Lake City man works to overcome heroin addiction at First Step House.
Andrea Smardon

Hundreds of people are expected at the Utah State Capitol Thursday afternoon to rally for those with substance abuse and mental health disorders. Advocates will be calling attention to a shortage in public funding for treatment, and they’ll be asking lawmakers to expand Medicaid.

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Health Care
11:36 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

House Republicans Work to Close “Coverage Gap” Without Expanding Medicaid

Representative Jim Dunnigan
Brian Grimmett

Republican state lawmakers have come up with a proposal to provide health insurance for those who fall below the poverty line, but it does not expand Medicaid in the state. Democrats say rejecting those federal dollars is irresponsible.

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Politics
2:13 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Congressman Chris Stewart Tells Legislature to Expect More Congressional Push Back Against Obamacare

Congressman Chris Stewart addresses the Utah Senate
Brian Grimmett

Republican Congressman Chris Stewart gave a report on his efforts in Washington D.C. to members of the House and Senate today.

He told members of the Senate that he believes in the true idea of federalism, and advocated for a shift in power from his job in Washington to the Utah Legislature.

“I believe that we have enormous challenges and problems ahead of us, but most of those are best addressed at the state,” he said.

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Health Care
6:57 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

The Coverage Gap: Transgender Utahn Can’t Get Health Insurance

The Affordable Care Act is in effect across the country, but some Utahns are finding that they still don’t have any options for health insurance. As part of an ongoing series, KUER looks at those find themselves in this coverage gap. In today’s installment, we meet a 32-year-old who is in the process of coming out as transgender.

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Health Care
6:57 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

The Coverage Gap: Transgender Utahn Can’t Get Health Insurance

The Affordable Care Act is in effect across the country, but some Utahns are finding that they still don’t have any options for health insurance. As part of an ongoing series, KUER looks at those in this coverage gap. In today’s installment, we meet a 32-year-old who is in the process of coming out as transgender.

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Politics
3:04 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Hatch to Senate: Immigration Reform Must Happen, Affordable Care Act Needs to be Replaced

Sen. Orrin Hatch addresses the Utah Senate
Brian Grimmett

Republican U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch touched on health care, immigration this morning when he addressed the Utah House and Senate Floors at the State Capitol.

Earlier this week, Hatch announced he is co-sponsoring a new Republican-led healthcare bill that he hopes will replace the Affordable Care Act. He says the Patient Choice Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment — or CARE — Act will cost less and have fewer mandates than the current health law.

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Health Care
10:18 am
Sun January 12, 2014

After Delay, State Now Processing Medicaid Applications from Healthcare.gov

After weeks of waiting, thousands of Utahns will find out if they qualify for Medicaid. Confusion and technical difficulties with the federal exchange website healthcare.gov have left some Utahns’ applications in limbo.

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Health Care
3:13 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Utahns on Primary Care Network Won't Lose Insurance Yet

Utahns who receive health insurance through the state’s Primary Care Network will likely have more time before they are cut from the program. PCN was set to expire at the end of this year, but state health officials say they have verbal confirmation from the federal government that the program will be funded for another year.

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Health Care
3:36 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Utah Obamacare Enrollment Up More Than 400%

The number of Utahns who have signed up for health insurance through the federal exchange quadrupled last month.  That’s according to federal enrollment data released Wednesday morning.

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Health Care
3:29 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

Some Utahns Find Affordable Insurance on Healthcare.gov, Some Don’t

Frame shop Signed & Numbered, owned by Phil Sherburne who was able to buy health insurance for his family for $123 a month.
Signed & Numbered

Now that healthcare.gov is working better, more Utahns are going online to sign up for insurance. KUER’s Andrea Smardon reports that it’s affordable for some, expensive for others, and not available at all for more than 100,000 Utah citizens.

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Health Care
5:06 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

State Hospital Association Endorses "Utah Approach" to Medicaid Expansion

Greg Bell speaks at Utah Health Policy Project's conference on the Affordable Care Act.
Andrea Smardon

Some of Utah’s healthcare powerbrokers are honing in on a plan to expand Medicaid that they think the state legislature might approve. At a healthcare conference in downtown Salt Lake City Thursday, former lieutenant governor Greg Bell - now president and CEO of the Utah Hospital Association – laid out his vision.

Bell says the state’s decision on Medicaid expansion will really be decided by the Utah legislature.  

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Health Care
3:48 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Club Jam to Host Healthcare Happy Hour

Club Jam

Community groups around the state have been holding events to educate people about the Affordable Care Act, but Utah Pride is trying something different Wednesday to reach their target demographic - healthcare happy hour.

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Health Care
5:03 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

State Task Force Narrows Options for Medicaid in Utah

Citizens at a rally for Medicaid expansion at the Utah State Capitol on November 20, 2013.
Andrea Smardon

A state legislative committee has decided not to consider a full Medicaid expansion as defined by the federal Affordable Care Act. Instead, the Health System Reform Task Force is considering three alternative options.

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Health Care
2:01 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Governor Herbert Looks Toward Middle Ground for Medicaid Expansion

File: Governor Gary Herbert
Utah Education Network

Governor Gary Herbert has still not made a decision about expanding Medicaid benefits, but at his monthly KUED news conference today he did shed some light on the decision making process.

For the past several months Governor Herbert has insisted that all options are still on the table when it comes to the expansion of Medicaid benefits, but his most recent comments suggest that he’s looking at finding some sort of middle ground.

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Health Care
12:33 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Obama Administration Memos Reveal Utah Wanted Exchange Shut Down

Obama administration memos released this week reveal that Utah insurance officials requested to shut down the state’s shopping portion of the federal exchange last month. The request was made after Utah’s biggest issuer, SelectHealth, was not appearing on the website marketplace.

Utah’s Assistant Insurance Commissioner Tanji Northrup says it took a few days after the federal exchange was launched on October 1st to figure out there was a major problem.

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