To: Legislative Fiscal Analyst Office Dropbox,
Subject: Utah Chapter of Doctors for American supports Utah Access Plus but recommends reconsideration of funding mechansim
Date: Wed Oct 07 05:56:35 MDT 2015
My name is Dr. Scott Poppen and I am a primary care internal medicine physician from Draper. I am also the Utah State director of Doctors for America. Doctors for America is a national movement of more than 16,000 physicians and medical students in all 50 states, including about 300 in Utah, working together to improve the health of the nation and to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, high quality health care.
Doctors for America thanks all the policy makers involved for their very hard work in formulating the Utah Access Plus Plan.
However, we have grave concerns about its funding mechanism and agree with the majority of today’s testimony from health care providers which points out the unfairness and potential for negative unintended consequences that may result from taxing individual health care practitioners to fund most of the state’s contribution. A public health plan that benefits all Utahns should be funded by all Utahns. The current funding mechanism of Utah Assess Plus is poor public policy and we would urge you to revise the funding plan immediately or at a future general legislative session.
Nevertheless, despite our strong objections to how Utah Access Plus is funded, Doctors for America feels that Utahns in the coverage gap are in dire straits. Therefore, my group of physicians, which is 100% patient focused, has no choice but to strongly support passage of Utah Access Plus because it is the right thing to do for our patients.
Representatives and Senators, you are hearing a lot of testimony today for and against Utah Access Plus. But there are four facts to remember and these facts are indisputable:
1. 1. Uninsured Utahns are at much greater risk of dying from preventable causes than insured Utahns
2. 2. Uninsured Utahns with chronic illnesses often cannot get their conditions properly diagnosed and treated. They therefore live unhealthy, uncomfortable lives in which they are unable to maintain employment and meet their own, or their families’, financial needs.
3. 3. Uninsured Utahns and their families face financial catastrophe when they are struck with severe, life threatening illnesses.
4. 4. Charity care is not an answer in keeping the uninsured healthy or treating their illnesses. In 2013 I had the pleasure and the privileged to serve with Rep Poulson, Rep Kennedy, and Senator Christensen on Governor Herbert’s charity care task force. After three months of hard work we concluded that even Utah’s robust charity care system was completely inadequate in providing the vast majority of the uninsured with acceptable access to comprehensive and coordinated medical care.
Committee members and audience, these are the facts, and they are indisputable. If the legislature fails to pass this legislation, tens of thousands of Utahns in the coverage gap will linger in a humanitarian crisis of unrelieved fear and suffering. This issue will not disappear. Please, please pass Utah Access Plus.
R Scott Poppen MD,MPA
Utah State Director
Doctors for America