To: David Lifferth,
Subject: Healthy Utah
Date: Fri Feb 27 03:43:43 MST 2015

Death Panels in Utah


As a Clinical Social Worker in Salt Lake City for the past twenty years I’m alarmed at Rep. Greg Hughes introduction of death panels to the discussion, or lack thereof, regarding Healthy Utah. Death panels are the potential outcome for the denial of health care to vulnerable Utahan’s should Healthy Utah not move forward in the House of Representatives.


Recently our state has been challenged to examine the issues of race.  This week alone the state has been challenged regarding our discussion of equal opportunity for women.  In both regards Utah appears to be on a very slow learning curve as led out by our Republican Legislature.  Women tend to be over represented in regards to poverty due to wage disparities; factor in the dynamics of being a single mother, and children tend to be disproportionally represented in the cycle of poverty.  People of color, due to disparities, tend to be over represented in the discussion of Utah and poverty.  Factor in a legislative body that is overwhelmingly represented by white, privileged men and we begin to recognize the barriers and lack of empathy for our legislative body to embrace the health care challenges of this state.  Squabbling becomes the norm and voting for a state dog breed the political priority.


By avoiding the discussion regarding equal access to health care in Utah, what Representative Greg Hughes is really saying is that women, children and people of color are not a priority for the State of Utah and its legislative body.


Ironically this state did not bat an eye when it came to spending millions for the battle AGAINST marriage equality for Utah LGBTQ citizens.  The argument about funding is more appropriately an argument regarding priorities.


As a social worker in this state, the ability for my clients to access health care is a daily challenge, full of fear and difficult decisions regarding quality of life or even life itself.  To ignore the issue of health care is an act of privilege exercised against the realities of many Utah citizens.  It’s the systemic institutionalization of the dreaded "death panels" for many in this state.


Jerry Buie MSW, LCSW

2084 East 6425 South

Holladay Utah 84121