To: Legislative Fiscal Analyst Office Dropbox,
Subject: Medicaid expansion
Date: Thu Oct 08 16:32:48 MDT 2015
Dear Health Reform Task Force Committee Members:
Thank you for your continued efforts to provide health care coverage for low income Utahns. While the Catholic Diocese supported full Medicaid expansion and Healthy Utah, we are also willing to support Access+ as a starting point. We do so not because the plan is ideal, but because we believe health insurance is a basic requirement to protect the dignity and sanctity of life.
No matter how many doctors or institutions are willing to provide charity care, a person with cancer will not be able to access the consistent and expensive treatment required without health insurance. It should be a fundamental principle of the Legislature that no human being will be left to suffer from inadequate care for chronic or life threatening diseases because they lack the means to buy health insurance. Similarly, I am currently working with a formerly incarcerated women who relies on emergency room care for treatment of her rheumatoid arthritis because she works part time for $2.13/hour so does not qualify for her employer’s plan. At $2.13 an hour for less than 40 hours/week she finds private insurance too expensive, even with subsidies. The cheapest subsidized plan she could find to cover her chronic needs was still over $100/month and she would have to lie and say she doesn’t smoke to qualify for that rate. She is unwilling to lie.
I understand that you must be good stewards of state resources. However, it seems you can do so without jeopardizing the health and well-being of your constituents. Access+ will cost the state some money. But state funding should prioritize health, education and the general welfare of the public. Government can’t fix everything, but it can and must ensure that its residents are able to access basic needs, such as health care. Further, low income employees should not be penalized for the bad acts of employers who try to shirk their responsibility to provide health insurance. We object to the provision in Access+ that denies employees coverage for six months based on the questionable tactic of an employer who ends an employee health plan.
Please continue to work toward the goal of providing health care coverage for all Utahns. The economic benefits of a healthy and productive populace will be just one of the positive outcomes of prioritizing the dignity and sanctity of life.
Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City
27 C Street
Salt Lake City, Utah 84103