Medicaid

100% Kids Coverage Campaign & Coalition Launch

Giving All Kids the Opportunity to Thrive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

CONTACT:

Ciriac Alvarez Valle

801-364-1182

Salt Lake City —A coalition of over 20 diverse stakeholder organizations will announce a campaign aimed at ensuring that all Utah children have health care coverage, regardless of background, geography, immigration status, or income this Friday, May 24that 10 am at the Voices for Utah Children office (details below).

Utah has one of the highest uninsured rates for children in the country. In the last year, Utah was one of only 9 states to see an increase in its child uninsured rate, up from 6% to 7%. Children of color and immigrant children are disproportionately affected, of the 71,000 children without health insurance, almost 43% are Latino children. The Campaign aims to reduce the disparities in coverage and ensure that every child has the ability to access affordable health coverage.

During the launch, Voices for Utah Children will share its new State of Children’s Coverage Report with detailed information regarding Utah coverage, disparities to care and barriers faced by immigrant families. The 100% Kids Coverage Campaign focuses on four main policy priorities: Protecting and fully expanding affordable coverage for parents and pregnant women; keeping kids covered all year round; helping families connect and stay covered; and covering all kids regardless of immigration status. More detailed information about the campaign can be found here: https://utahchildren.org/issues/100-kids-covered.

The report includes several stories and testimonies from immigrant families on the importance of health insurance. “If [our family] had medical insurance, I’d be a calmer woman, with less stress, and more happiness because I’d have my son in his therapies that he really needs,” said one Utah mother in the report.  

 “Our campaign is committed to ensuring that Utah is a place for all children to grow up healthy, regardless of immigration status,” said Ciriac Alvarez Valle, Health Policy and Community Engagement Fellow for Voices for Utah Children. “We are encouraged to have so many groups come together in support of getting Utah to 100% Kids Coverage.

The Campaign & Coalition Launch will be held on Friday the 24th at 10:00 AM at the Voices for Utah Children Office (747 E South Temple #100).

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Utah is not getting the expansion we voted for… Utah Medicaid is facing serious threats

The Legislature’s bill rolling back Proposition 3 includes several harmful changes to Medicaid. The bill proposes to:

  • Create additional reporting requirements for enrollees
  • Limit the number of people who can enroll in Medicaid
  • Make it harder for individuals to access care

These changes would lead to cuts for Utahns’ healthcare and coverage and will put the Utah Medicaid program at risk.

Your Comments Are Needed!

The Utah Department of Health – at the direction of the Governor and Legislature — have released a proposal to make these harmful changes to Utah Medicaid...again.

Comments are the best way to defeat these harmful proposed changes to Utah Medicaid and get us back to the straightforward, full Medicaid expansion you voted for.  Without restrictions or barriers to care. The federal and state government are required to consider all comments; if they don’t, then the proposal can be overturned through legal action. Comments are the reason Kentucky’s Medicaid proposal was stopped in its tracks.

Submit your comments here. Thank you for your continued action!


But wait! Even with these confusing changes, many more people are eligible for Medicaid now because Utah has partially expanded Medicaid. If you or someone you know applied before and were rejected, it is a good time to check again. Find out if you qualify for coverage here!


Learn More:

Work requirements don’t work; in fact, they lead to eligible people losing their Medicaid coverage. Learn more about Arkansas’ failed work requirement policies.

Confused? Need a refresher on Utah's messy path to full Medicaid expansion. Check out this overview from our friends at the Utah Health Policy Project.

How did Proposition 3, a.k.a voter-approved full Medicaid expansion, compare to the Legislature’s partial Medicaid expansion bill, aka SB 96? Learn more.

 

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Voices for Utah Children’s Response to CMS Approval of Utah’s Partial Medicaid Expansion

Voices for Utah Children is dismayed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS)’s decision today. While we are encouraged that some Utahns will be able to access needed care, too many Utahns will still be left without health coverage.  

In November of last year, Utah voters passed a plan to close the coverage gap and fully expand Medicaid up to 138% of the federal poverty level, bringing federal tax dollars home to Utah. However, during the 2019 Legislative Session, the Utah Legislature rejected the will of voters and rolled back that plan, including the federal funds that came with it, despite outcries from the public, providers, patients, community leaders and many of its own legislators.

Today CMS chose to approve the Legislature’s more expensive partial Medicaid expansion plan -- a plan that will cost Utah taxpayers more, cover fewer people, impose harmful barriers to care and caps on enrollment for low-income Utahns. This plan creates a dangerous precedent for our Medicaid program and gambles with Utah taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars.

Of particular concern in this waiver:

  • It doesn’t add up. The waiver forces Utah to spend more of its own money to provide health coverage to fewer people. Utah will only receive $2.30 in federal funds for every state dollar spent on Medicaid instead of $9.30 in federal funds for every state dollar spent under full Medicaid expansion.
  • It’s dangerous. Medicaid is designed to help in times of crisis, allowing states to respond to public health emergencies, natural disasters, and to provide support during economic downturns. Limiting the number of people who can enroll in the Medicaid program could leave many vulnerable Utahns shut out from health coverage when they need it most. 
  • It doesn’t work. Research shows that work reporting requirements do nothing to help people find work, but instead create unnecessary red-tape and program complexities that result in hard-working, qualified Utahns losing their health coverage.

CMS’ approval of this partial expansion waiver will leave many unable to access affordable coverage and creates more health care obstacles for both parents and children. When parents’ coverage is in jeopardy, kids’ coverage is also at risk. While Voices for Utah Children is encouraged that some Utahns will get coverage starting on April 1, this plan undermines voter-approved full Medicaid expansion. Utahns deserve better; all Utahns deserve access to affordable health coverage without caps, unnecessary red-tape, and stumbling blocks.

For more information please reach out to Jessie Mandle, the Senior Health Policy Analyst at .

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This Legislative Session, we have heard a lot of thoughtful, important discussion around children’s access to health coverage and care, including needed mental health care. Health insurance helps children connect with affordable care, yet thousands of Utah children are not enrolling in coverage. Utah has the highest rate of kids currently eligible for health insurance, but not enrolled.

Following the Session, Voices for Utah Children will be releasing an in-depth “State of Children’s Care” report that reviews kids’ coverage and care across the state. Here’s a preview look at some reasons why Utah kids are still uninsured…

  • Uninsured Parents= kids more likely to be uninsured: Thousands of parents have been left without have health insurance for too long. On April 1st, parents with incomes between 60-100% of the federal poverty level will be able to enroll in Medicaid coverage. After the passage of Proposition 3 and then Senate Bill 96, there is a lot of confusion among parents around what affordable health care options are still available and the new requirements to getting care. It’s important that up-to-date information is provided to families, so that eligible parents can begin enrolling on April 1st. Research shows that covering parents helps kids.  
  • Keeping kids covered after they enroll: Once kids get enrolled, we need to help them stay covered. Kids can lose coverage because of administrative error, a small change in parents’ income or an employer’s failure to return requested information on behalf of the parent.
  • Misinformation and lack of outreach: Many families are confused about what types of affordable options are available to them. Unfortunately, statewide there is a significant lack of outreach funding to help families learn about options and dispel confusion.
  • Fear: The federal administration has contributed to a climate of fear that is causing many immigrant families to not enroll, or dis-enroll, their children from Medicaid or CHIP, for fear of reprisal. The majority of children with immigrant parents are eligible for coverage but are not enrolling. We need to counter this climate of fear, create a welcoming environment for new Americans and fight the misinformation of using public benefits.
  • Coverage disparities: Utah has one of the highest rates of uninsured Latino/Hispanic children. Alongside fighting the climate of fear for immigrant families, we must also continue to outreach to communities and support families who may not enroll alone.

Unfortunately, as we reported last year, the rate of uninsured Utah children is trending in the wrong direction. For the first time in almost ten years, we saw a troubling rise in the number of uninsured children in our state. Voices for Utah Children is currently working to increase coverage and care for all children with our 100% Kids Coverage Campaign. Let’s work together to help all Utah kids get the coverage and care they need to be healthy and thrive.

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