Medicaid

Health Care
6:18 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Few Utahns Know about Governor’s Plan to Deliver Healthcare to the Poor

A new poll shows that Utahns don’t know very much about Governor Gary Herbert’s plan to deliver health insurance to low-income citizens. But when they learn more, they tend to support it. KUER’s Andrea Smardon took to the streets to see for herself what Utahns know and don’t know about healthcare decisions facing state lawmakers. 

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Health Care
8:42 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Herbert Closing in on Healthcare Deal

Governor Gary Herbert presents his Healthy Utah Plan during the 2014 legislative session.
Brian Grimmett

Governor Gary Herbert says he is very close to an agreement with the federal government on his proposal to provide health insurance for those under the poverty line.

Coming out of his meeting with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell in Washington, Governor Herbert says he’s gotten about 95 percent of what he’s asked for, and he’s optimistic that a final agreement should be reached shortly.

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Health Care
5:17 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Health Reform Still Stalled in Utah

Charlotte Lawrence testifies along with her children to the Utah Health Reform Task Force.
Andrea Smardon KUER

Some conservative lawmakers are still resisting an expansion of Medicaid in Utah, despite testimony from those who can’t afford health coverage and a new analysis showing the economic benefits of the governor’s Healthy Utah proposal.

Charlotte Lawrence tried to contain her emotion as she sat before the state’s health reform task force, with her children on either side. She explained that she is a single parent, working two full time jobs, and she has been diagnosed with cancer. She says she’s done all she can to provide for herself and her family, but it’s not enough.

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Health Care
4:41 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Survey Shows Utah Uninsured Rate Unchanged by Obamacare

Midtown Community Health Center of Ogden serves many uninsured patients on a sliding scale.
Andrea Smardon KUER

A national poll shows Utah’s uninsured rate has not changed since the federal Affordable Care Act required all Americans to have health insurance.  This reflects trends across the country, where states that fully embraced the law's coverage expansion are experiencing a significant drop in the number of uninsured residents. But Utah and other states whose leaders still object to Obamacare are seeing much less change.

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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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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
4:30 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Salt Lake County to Cut Services if State Doesn’t Accept Medicaid Funds

Salt Lake County government offices

Salt Lake County faces a budget shortfall and service cuts if the state doesn’t accept Medicaid funds from the federal government. The County Council will draft a letter at their meeting Tuesday urging state lawmakers to support the Governor’s Healthy Utah Plan, and to do it this summer before the County has to complete its budget. 

Democratic Salt Lake County Councilor Sam Granato was hoping the legislature would have made a decision by now on whether Utah should accept Medicaid funds to provide health coverage for more than 110,000 low-income Utahns.

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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
9:56 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Utah Lawmakers Put Off Healthcare Decisions for Low Income Citizens

Utah Department of Health officials brief the legislature's Health Reform Task Force on Governor Gary Herbert's efforts to negotiate federal approval of his Healthy Utah Plan, an alternative to Medicaid expansion.
Andrea Smardon KUER

Utah’s Republican lawmakers say they’re not ready to make any decisions about Medicaid expansion or the governor’s alternative plan. That means over 110,000 low income Utahns will likely be waiting at least until next year before they know what their health insurance options may be.

At a GOP caucus this week, Republicans legislators determined that they don’t all agree when it comes to Medicaid and healthcare reform.

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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
1:53 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Governor's Healthy Utah Plan "Well Received" in Washington D.C.

File: Gov. Gary Herbert announces his Healthy Utah plan
Brian Grimmett

Governor Gary Herbert says Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and top officials at the White House were very receptive to his plan to help cover uninsured Utahns.

After his visit to Washington D.C. earlier in the week Governor Herbert says he’s confident that Secretary Sebelius will approve his Healthy Utah plan.

“As she said to me, I see nothing in your proposal, Governor, that would be a deal breaker.”

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Health Care
2:27 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Governor Meets with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

File: Governor Gary Herbert unveils his plan for Medicaid expansion
Brian Grimmett

Governor Gary Herbert is in Washington D.C. Monday meeting with outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about his plan to help low income Utahns get 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
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
11:26 am
Sun March 9, 2014

Gov. on Healthcare Negotiations: “You Don’t Want to Tie My Hands”

Utah Education Network

Time is running out for the Utah legislature to make a decision on what they want to do about health insurance for low-income Utahns.  There are several health reform proposals in the legislature that have yet to be approved, with only four working days left in the session. But at this point, the governor has the power to move forward with his plan, so long as lawmakers don’t stand in his way.

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Health Care
6:23 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Utahns in the Coverage Gap Find Hope in Governor Herbert’s Health Plan

14-year-old Avery Pizzuto asked the governor to "please get this going" so that her single mother would have access to health insurance.
Andrea Smardon

Governor Gary Herbert got some positive feedback Thursday on his plan to offer health insurance to low-income Utahns. Herbert visited a homeless health clinic in Salt Lake City and heard from citizens who do not qualify for insurance subsidies, but also do not qualify for Medicaid, leaving them in a coverage gap.

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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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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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Health Care
5:50 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Utah Gets Visit from Federal Healthcare Officials

Kim Gillan is the new Region VIII Director for the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are in Utah this week on a two-day trip to talk with state lawmakers and advocates. The visit was ostensibly a chance for Utahns to meet the new regional director, but healthcare advocates say they also got a pep talk to sign more people up for insurance, and to continue pushing for a Medicaid expansion in the state. 

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Health Care
3:22 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

House Republicans Working on “Utah Solution” for Poor, Uninsured

Brian Grimmett

Governor Gary Herbert said this week that the state has a moral obligation to provide some type of health coverage for those living in poverty. House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart says she doesn’t want to accept any federal dollars to do that. Now Republican House lawmakers are working to find a solution that will solve the so-called Medicaid gap, but will also be politically acceptable to those in their own party.

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Politics
4:01 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Utah House Speaker Challenges Governor Herbert

Members of the Utah House of Representatives stand and applaud during Speaker Becky Lockhart's remarks. (Jan. 27, 2014)
Andrea Smardon

The Utah House of Representatives opened this year’s legislative session with some bold remarks from Republican Speaker Rebecca Lockhart, challenging Governor Gary Herbert.

Just like speeches from years’ past, Speaker Lockhart railed against the over-reach of the federal government, and insisted that Utah resist. But this time, she targeted Governor Herbert who has recently said that he favors some limited expansion of Medicaid in the state.

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Health Care
1:58 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Herbert Says Doing Nothing on Medicaid Expansion is Not an Option

File: Governor Gary Herbert
Credit Utah Education Network

Governor Gary Herbert says he’s decided what the state will do about expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But he’s not ready yet to announce just what that is.

Herbert told reporters at his monthly news conference on KUED this morning that he’ll announce his decision during the legislative session, which starts next week. But he wouldn’t go into detail about just how the state plans to work with the federal government on Medicaid.

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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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