Health

Bill

Sponsor

Description

Voices is

House Bills

Juvenile Justice Bills

HB14 - School Absenteeism and Truancy Amendments

Rep. Snow

Creates a standard definition for “truancy” and chronic truancy” and seeks to improve data reporting by schools to the state board of education

Following

HB78 - Juvenile Incarceration Services Amendments

Rep. Dailey-Provost

Prevents the state from sending fees related to juvenile incarceration to debt collection

Support

HB111 - Notification to School of Criminal Proceedings

Rep. Hall

Requires law enforcement to notify a school when a student is under investigation for a violent felony or weapons offense,

Following

HB171 - School Threat Amendments

Rep. Stoddard

Defines the crime of threatening a school (or committing an intentional hoax threat), creates certain criminal penalties (including restitution for the costs of a school response to a threat), and requires a mental health assessment.

Following

HB229 - Extreme Risk Protection Order

Rep. Handy

Enables a family member or law enforcement to ask a court to restrain a person from possessing any firearms or ammunition for a specified length of time;

Support
       

Child Care and Early Education

HB89 - Workforce Development Incentives Amendments

Rep. Harrison

Allows GOED to consider the “working parent benefits” that a company offers, when calculating potential incentives packages

Support

HB97 - Newborn Safe Haven Amendments

Rep. Arent

Updates Utah’s “Safe Haven Law” to allow parents to leave newborn children, up to 30 days old, at a hospital, safely and without fear of criminal prosecution. Also includes provisions to ensure notification of fathers when possible, and to prevent birth record duplications

Support

HB99 - Enhanced Kindergarten Amendments

Rep. Snow

Expands state-funded Optional-Extended Day Kindergarten administered by Utah State Board of Education. Boosts current spending about 2.5 times

Support

HB114 - Early Learning Training and Assessment Amendments

Rep. Waldrip

Expands teacher professional development program focused on early literacy to include numeracy skills and to boost embedded coaching/technical assistance support to educators.

Support

HB153 - Parental Leave Amendments

Rep. Weight

Directs state agencies (except for universities) to offer up to sic weeks of paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child

Support

HB187 - Employer Tax Credit for Child Care

Rep. Harrison

Creates a non-refundable tax credit for employers who offer financial support for their employee’s child care expenses

Support

HB264 - Infant at Work Pilot Program Rep. Pitcher

This bill establishes the Infant at Work Pilot Program for eligible employees of the Department of Health.

Support
Health

HB16 – School Meals Program Amendments

Rep. Johnson

Broadens the use of school lunch revenues to include school meals and will strengthen evaluation among schools participating in meal programs.

Support

HB34 – Tanning for Minors

Rep. Daw

This bill prohibits minors from tanning without parental consent. Youth tanning increases health risks for youth, including cancer

Support

HB58 - Electronic Cigarettes in Schools Amendments

Rep. Pulsipher

Allows school administrators and educators to take certain steps to combat vaping misconduct at public schools, including a comprehensive health curriculum section and promoting positive alternatives.

Following

HB69 - Sick Leave Amendments

Rep. Arent

Directs employers that offer their employees paid sick leave, to allow those employees to use at least five paid sick days to care for an immediate family member who is ailing

Support

HB88 - School and Child Care Center Water Testing Requirements

Rep. Handy

Direct schools and child care centers to test water for lead and connects centers and schools with remediation support resources. Let’s keep our kids hydrated and healthy!

Support

HB108 - Medical Specialists in Public Schools Rep. Spackman Moss We support efforts that may lead to greater access to school-based health services. This bill seeks to clarify and offer greater guidance for schools regarding the pay schedule they can use for school-based health staff. Support
HB118 – Retail Tobacco Amendments Rep. Daily-Provost

This bill will limit which types of stores can sell flavored tobacco or vaping products. These products are often used to target and appeal to youth. In addition, this bill will give cities greater authority to curb underage vaping.

Support
HB204 – Insurance Coverage for in Vitro Fertilization Rep. Stoddard Will require a health benefit plan to cover in vitro fertilization if it provides a maternity benefit Support

HB210 - Insurance Coverage for Children Amendments- Support

Rep. Ward

The number of uninsured kids in Utah has increased over the last two years. This bill would address this problem, by implementing 12-month continuous coverage for children on Medicaid and make it easier for eligible kids to get covered and stay covered.

Support

HB222 - Start Smart Utah Breakfast Program Rep. Johnson

Will help more kids get breakfast at school. When kids aren't hungry, they are better learners!

Support
B313 - Telehealth Parity Amendments Rep. Ballard

This bill will allow for coverage parity between telehealth and in-person visits. It will help more individuals in rural and underserved areas to receive care.

Support
HB323 - School Mental Health Amendments Rep. Eliason

Will establish a grant program for schools to conduct age-appropriate mental health screenings for students and then connect high-risk students with care. Optional grant program for schools, specifically aimed to help identify children before they are in a life-threatening crisis.

Support

 

HB372 - Digital Wellness, Citizenship, and Safe Technology Commission

Rep. Keven Stratton This bill would create the Digital Wellness, Citizenship, and Safe Technology Commission and requires the commission to: identify best practices and compile resources for training students in healthy behavior related to technology use; and report to the Education Interim Committee and the State Board of Education on efforts related to delivering training in healthy behavior related to technology use Support
Tax and Budget Bills
 

Senate Bills

Health

SJR 2 – Joint Resolution Encouraging Action to Reduce the Number of Utah Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels

Sen. Iwamoto

Encourages more children to get lead screening so we can make sure kids are getting connected with the care and follow-up treatment they need.

Support

SB74 - Family Planning Services Amendments Sen. Kitchen

This bill will help more low-income individuals access family planning health care services.

Support
SB135 - Dental Practice Act Amendments Sen. Christensen

We support this bill because it advances teledentistry efforts and rules in Utah. Teledentistry is a promising practice that has the potential to help more people access dental care in rural and underserved areas.

Support
SB155 - Medical Billing Amendments Sen. Mayne

Directs the Department of Insurance and insurers to report on the practice of balance billing or so-called “surprise” medical billing.

Support
Tax and Budget

SB53 - Global Intangible Low Taxed Income Amendments

Sen Fillmore

This bill modifies provisions related to payment of income tax on global intangible low-taxed income.

Oppose

SB39 -Affordable Housing Amendments
Sen Anderegg
This bill modifies the allowable uses for a community reinvestment agency's housing allocation and modifies the requirements for distributing money from the Olene Walker Housing
Loan Fund;
Support
Published in Legislative Center

New Utah-specific report on ACA repeal details impact to Utah families

Salt Lake City—The number of uninsured Utah children would more than double if Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without a comprehensive replacement plan, according to new data released by the Urban Institute. The new data offer more detail than we’ve ever seen before about how repeal without a replacement will affect Utah children and families. As Congress and the new administration begin the process of repealing the ACA, they have yet to negotiate an agreement on a replacement and may delay doing so indefinitely.

Repealing the ACA without a replacement in place will leave even more Utah children uninsured than before the ACA came into being. While most attention has been directed toward the fact that ACA repeal could end the ACA health insurance marketplace—in itself devastating for Utah families because Utah has one of the highest marketplace enrollment rates in the nation—the ACA repeal will also affect CHIP and Medicaid, tearing away at key features of Utah’s safety net that existed long before the ACA.

All Utah families stand to lose a number of health insurance protections, not only families enrolled in the marketplace. In a letter to Congress dated January 13th, Governor Herbert and state officials expressed interest in rolling back ACA protections from insurance discrimination based on gender. In the same letter, they also supported a return to exclusions for those with pre-existing conditions. The roll-back of these ACA protections would lead to an increased medical burden for many Utah families.

The report by the Urban Institute estimated that by 2019, Utahns would see the following consequences of ACA repeal:

  • 273,000 more Utahns would become uninsured, raising Utah’s total uninsured rate from 12% to 21%.
  • 73,000 Utah children would become newly uninsured, resulting in 141,000 children without insurance. Of the Utah children who stand to lose insurance, 88% have at least one full-time working parent in the home.
  • 89,000 additional Utah parents would become uninsured, putting increased economic stress on the entire family.

“Thanks to the ACA, CHIP and Medicaid, more Utah children are insured than ever before,” said Jessie Mandle, Senior Health Policy Analyst at Voices for Utah Children. “We need a plan to build on these gains, instead of going backward.”

Read the Utah fact sheet here:
Partial Repeal of the ACA through Reconciliation: Coverage Implications for Utah Residents

The new Utah factsheet is based on research compiled by the Urban Institute in December, which was modeled on a Congressional repeal bill from 2016 similar to present Congressional proposals.
Partial Repeal of the ACA through Reconciliation: Coverage Implications for Parents and Children

Image Credit: Monkey Business Images | Dreamstime.com - Mother Taking Temperature Of Sick Daughter


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express, our "Making a Difference All Year Long" sponsor. Amex

 

Published in Press Releases

The 2018 Utah Legislative Session will take place from January 22 to March 8, with 45 days chock full of long committee meetings, urgent Action Alerts, conversations between community members and legislators, demonstrations on the steps of the State Capitol Building and much more! 

We'll be following a lot of different bills during the 2018 session, not all of which will be made public before the session officially begins. Some bills are introduced with language that we support, and then that language changes over the course of the legislative process. Occasionally, the changes are subtantial enough to warrant a change in our position. We will do our best to keep this list of bills - as well as our positions - updated for your information, but it can be tricky when things are so busy for our staff during this crazy time of year. 

We are working on several bills that will be priorities for us in 2018. You can learn more about these priority legislative proposals by clicking on the topic links below. 

Children dont make the lawsTax and Budget Issues

Creating a State Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

Restoring Investment in Children

Health Issues

12-Month Continuous Eligibility for Utah Kids with Medicaid

Maternal Health

Oral Health

Health Coverage

Early Childhood Care & Education Issues

High Quality Child Care

Governance and Coordination of Early Childcare Services

Juvenile Justice Issues

Implementing Juvenile Justice Reform

Bills

Bill & Sponsor  Voices for Utah Children Position
HB 12 "Family Planning Services Amendments," Rep. Ray Ward  Support
HB 24 "Autism Insurance Coverage Sunset Amendments," Rep. Paul Ray  Support
HB 41 "Mental Health Crisis Line Amendment," Rep. Steve Eliason Support
HB 57 "Intergenerational Poverty Work and Self-Sufficiency Tax Credit," Rep. John Westwood - IGP EITC Support
HB 64 "Distracted Driver Amendments," Rep. Carol Spackman-Moss Support
HB 123 "Child Care Licensing Amendments," Rep. Karen Kwan Following
HB 132 "Juvenile Justice Modifications," Rep. Lowry Snow Following
HB 148 "Tax Revisions," Rep. Tim Quinn - removes the remaining 1.75% state sales tax on grocery food items Support
HB 156 "Family Leave Amendments," Rep. Elizabeth Weight Support
HB 164 "Early Learning Task Force," Rep. Bruce Culter  Following
HJR 6 "Joint Resolution Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act," Rep. Gage Froer  Support
SB 31 "Utah Mobile Crisis Outreach Team," Sen. Daniel Thatcher Following
SB 48 "Medicaid Waiting Period Amendments," Sen. Allen Christensen Oppose
SB 65 "Child Neglect Amendments," Sen. Lincoln Fillmore  "Child Neglect Amendments," Sen. Lincoln Fillmore  Following

 

News Contact Lawmakers  Sign Up for E-Alerts


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

 

Published in Legislative Center

health insurance foundation

Medicaid, CHIP (the Children’s Health Insurance Program) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) form the foundation of children’s health coverage. These programs are deeply connected to one another and our overall state safety net system. Federal and state lawmakers are proposing and enacting proposals that undermine ACA, CHIP and Medicaid. A repeal, cut or restructure of one program affects the others, and puts the care of Utah children and families at risk.

Thanks to the ACA, Medicaid and CHIP, we have seen the rate of uninsured Utah children drop from 11% in 2011 to a historic low of 6% in 2016. We cannot afford to let child health coverage, adequacy, and affordability move backwards. We must ensure that we sustain and build on our unprecedented success in covering children.

Medicaid is the cornerstone for children’s health coverage. Our state leaders must support the continued stability and affordability of the Medicaid program. Medicaid is the safety net health care program for low-income children. Over 200,000 Utah children rely on Medicaid insurance coverage, and its pediatric benefits are considered the gold standard for child health, particularly for children and youth with special health care needs. Changes to Medicaid’s financing structure through a block grant or per capita cap would undermine the program’s integrity by creating gaps in state funding. They would likely lead to limits placed on the programs, such as a reduction in benefits or fewer kids covered. Proposals to promote state innovation need to strengthen our safety net for kids and families, not weaken it.

Block grants or per capita caps would undermine Medicaid program integrity. Changes to Medicaid’s financing structure through a block grant or per capita cap would create large shortfalls in state funding. Learn more about hCoverage in Utah for kids infographicow block grants would harm Utah's budget.

Extend funding for CHIP for at least five years. A robust, long-term extension of CHIP funding for at least five years would help stabilize coverage for the 8.9 million U.S. children who rely on CHIP and provide certainty to Utah amid potentially significant changes to the broader coverage landscape. Learn more about CHIP.

Children must not lose any ground. Unraveling the ACA without a replacement plan attached threatens the health of children and families. There are 38,000 Utah children enrolled in ACA, or marketplace, coverage. At least 87% of Utahns enrolled in the exchange are receiving subsidies. The ACA provides protections for children and families, increases affordability and establishes evidence-based essential health benefits.

Extend Medicaid Coverage for Parents. Medicaid coverage for parents benefits the whole family. Yet thousands of Utah families are unable to receive Medicaid coverage, falling into the Medicaid ‘coverage gap.’ As a result, the family is at increased financial risk. Moreover, children are more likely to be uninsured. It is time to close the coverage for all parents and individuals. Learn more about citizen initiatives to close the coverage gap.

Working families depend on these vital health care programs. What is at stake if the ACA is repealed without a replacement, or changes are made to CHIP and Medicaid?

  • The number of uninsured Utah children would more than double. By 2019, at least 141,000 children would be uninsured.
  • The number of uninsured Utah parents would jump from 82,000 to 171,000. Research shows that children are better off when their parents have health insurance coverage.
  • Families and individuals would lose protection from exclusions and discrimination. Approximately 1.2 million Utahns – including 411,000 children- no longer experience lifetime limits on coverage now that the ACA is in effect.

We are putting our children’s future at risk by failing to guarantee Utah children and families have stable health insurance coverage. All children and families need consistent, comprehensive and affordable care.

Medicaid Helps Utah Children Get the Health Care They Need to Succeed from Georgetown CCF on Vimeo.

Printer-friendly Version:

pdf Preserve and Protect Health Coverage for Utah Children and Families

Additional Materials

Utah Children and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Healthcare Repeal Bill

Utah Snapshot of Children's Coverage: How Medicaid, CHIP, and the ACA Cover ChildrenHow Medicaid, CHIP, and the ACA Cover Children

In Support of Medicaid Standards for Children

Block grants or per capita caps would undermine the Medicaid program.

Number of Uninsured Utah Kids and Parents Would More than Double if ACA Repealed

The ACA Gave a Needed Boost to Utah’s Latino Child Health Insurance Rate

Tell Senator Hatch Not to Repeal the ACA without Replacing It

Defending Health Care in 2017: What Is at Stake for Utah

273,000 Utah Residents Would Lose Coverage in 2019 Under ACA Repeal2019 Under ACA Repeal

What Would Block Grants or Limits on Per Capita Spending Mean for Medicaid?

Fact Sheet: Per Capita Caps vs. Block Grants in Medicaid


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express, our "Making a Difference All Year Long" sponsor. Amex

 

Published in News & Blog
February 14, 2019

Healthy Moms = Healthy Kids

Maternal 1

Maternal 2

For Printable Version pdfMaternal Mental Health Support Flyer


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express, our "Making a Difference All Year Long" sponsor. Amex

 

Published in News & Blog

UT

Repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will cause 273,000 Utahns to lose their health insurance by 2019, new Urban Institute estimates show. Congress plans to move quickly in January to repeal much of the health reform law without enacting a replacement plan first. This would cause families in Utah to go without needed health care and expose them to financial risk. Nationally, most of the coverage loss would occur among families with at least one worker, doubling the number of uninsured and leaving a higher share of people uninsured than before the ACA.

Leaders in Congress are contemplating an unusual and risky maneuver to repeal the ACA without simultaneously passing a replacement plan. The repeal part would be easy because Congress would take advantage of special rules that apply to budget reconciliation bills. Congress could indefinately delay the far more difficult task of replacing the ACA with a new plan. 

 

Urban Social Media Shareable 2 If Congress succeeds in repealing the ACA without a replacement plan attached, they will throw the health care system into chaos. Nationwide, 4.3 million people would lose insurance right away, rising to 7.3 million by 2019.

urban institute ACA repeal

The consequences of repealing the ACA without replacing it would be dire for Utah families.

The number of uninsured Utahns would nearly double, rising from 328,000 uninsured Utahns to about 601,000.

The uninsured rate among children would more than double. Almost 38,000 Utah children currently have coverage in the ACA health insurance marketplace. These children are at risk of becoming uninsured if the ACA is repealed. After implementation of the ACA, Utah and the nation as a whole saw significant improvements in child health insurance coverage rates. Repealing the ACA without replacing it would not only eliminate these gains, but result in an even higher uninsured rate for children nationwide than existed before the ACA came into effect. 

Uninsured kids chart

Utah would lose $4.8 billion in federal funding and pay more in uncompensated care costs. State and local governments and health care providers would have to bear this cost.

Urban Social Media Shareable 1 Moderate-income working families in Utah would lose substantial financial assistance that is now available to help them pay  for their insurance premiums. The vast majority—87%—of Utahns in the ACA marketplace receive subsidies. In 2016, Utahns who enrolled in marketplace coverage receive an average advance premium tax credit of $187, which covers 69% of the total monthly premium for comprehensive coverage. 

Become Involved

Contact Senator Hatch protect our care UTAH

Tell Senator Hatch to protect our healthcare for children and families. Tell him not to repeal the ACA without a replacement bill in place to keep children and families covered by health insurance. Call Senator Hatch at (202)224-5251 or email Senator Hatch using this form.

Share Your Story

Does your family benefit from the ACA, Medicaid or CHIP health coverage? We want to talk to you. Your story could make a difference as we explain to lawmakers how repealing the ACA without replacing it could affect their constituents. Contact us.

More Information

Let’s Keep Moving Forward: The ACA’s Impact on Children’s Health Coverage

New Study Shows How ACA Repeal Would Impact Utah

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Fact Sheet: How Repeal of the ACA Would Affect Utahns

There Are 20,000 Fewer Uninsured Kids in Utah, Thanks to the Affordable Care Act


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express, our "Making a Difference All Year Long" sponsor. Amex

Published in News & Blog

Your story makes a difference.

The new administration and Congress are considering proposals that could harm Utahns enrolled in health coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid or CHIP. Are you a parent who is enrolled in one of these vital programs? Is your child enrolled? Voices for Utah Children is currently talking with Utah families with children that benefit from these programs, so that we can better communicate your needs to lawmakers. Lawmakers need to know how cuts to these programs would affect their constituents.

No long-term commitment is necessary. A member of the Voices for Utah Children team will ask you about how these health programs have helped your family and how your family would be affected if you lost your health coverage. If you give us permission, we will share your story on our website, through social media, and with lawmakers directly. Your story could be vital to saving these important programs.

You can contact Jessie Mandle, our health policy analyst, by email at  or by phone at 801-364-1182. 

You can also submit your story online here.

Are you a healthcare provider with patients that benefit from the ACA, Medicaid and CHIP?  Share your story here.


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express, our "Making a Difference All Year Long" sponsor. Amex

Published in News & Blog

continuous eligibility umbrella infographic

Utah FAQ’s

What is 12-month continuous eligibility for children on Medicaid?

Continuous eligibility is a state option that allows children, up through age 18, to maintain Medicaid coverage throughout the year, even if families experience a change in income or family status. By implementing continuous eligibility policies, a state ensures that for 365 days a year children get—and keep—health coverage.

What is churn?

“Churning” is when children are disenrolled in a public health insurance program and then re-enrolled after only a brief time without public insurance (2-6 months). “Churn” is the on-and-off-and-on pattern of enrollment that may be unrelated to actual eligibility status.

How does 12-month continuous eligibility affect families and children?

When children are enrolled in a program for 12 continuous months, they are less likely to lose their insurance coverage and more likely to experience continuity of care. In many cases, families must dis-enroll from Medicaid after securing unexpected temporary or seasonal work. When the short-term job ends, they must re-enroll in benefits. This creates an unnecessary burden for families. Parents are penalized for trying to improve their family’s economic circumstances through temporary or seasonal work.

How does 12-month continuous eligibility improve children’s health?

Children who have health insurance continuously throughout the year are more likely to have better health. Guaranteeing ongoing coverage ensures that children can receive appropriate preventive care, stay up to date on well-child visits and immunizations, fill their monthly prescriptions, and receive timely treatment for any health issues that arise. Stable coverage also enables providers to establish relationships with children and their parents and to track their health and development.

In contrast, when children experience gaps in health insurance coverage, they are less likely to have access to medical care. Interruptions in coverage can mean that children skip or delay a doctor’s visit or a prescriptions refill. People experiencing gaps in Medicaid coverage often experience serious health problems, while continuous Medicaid coverage is related to better health.

How will continuous eligibility help children with special health care needs?

According to Department of Health analysis, Medicaid children who are blind or disabled have one of the lowest average lengths of Medicaid eligiblity, compared to other eligibility categories. This suggests that children who are blind or disabled may be experiencing disruptions in care or coverage. A policy of 12-month continuous would allow all children, including those who are blind of disabled, to have continous health coverage.

How will continuous eligibility improve health plan accountability and value?

Continuous eligibility allows health plans to more accurately measure the quality of children’s health services and initiate program improvement strategies. Continuous eligibility improves health plan accountability. Health plans use a set of tools, called HEDIS measures (the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set), to assess their performance on health care and service. HEDIS measures require a one-year standard of continuous enrollment data. Children experiencing churn are not captured; HEDIS does not reflect the full make-up of children receiving care. Continuous eligibility leads to more comprehensive program improvement targets and better health care value for enrollees.

Why should Utah implement 12-month continuous eligibility now?

Despite declines in overall uninsured rates, Utah still has one of the highest rates of uninsured children in the nation. Continuous eligibility is a recognized best practice for states to lower their uninsured rate, improve program accountability and value, and assure vulnerable children get the best care.

Continuous eligibility helps retain children with low enrollment rates, including Hispanic children. Hispanic children are more likely to experience churn because of a change in their family’s temporary income status. At least 31% of Hispanic children have parents who lack year-round employment, compared to 18% of White children. Utah has the highest rate of uninsured Hispanic children in the nation. Programs that help children maintain continuous coverage, once they are enrolled, will reduce ethnic health disparities.

Health care leaders and officials urge states to adopt continuous eligibility as one of the top strategies to retain children in insurance programs and strengthen continuity of care.

12-month continuous eligibility is a critical way to make sure that Utah children have health insurance the entire year. All children should have access to health care without gaps or disruptions in coverage.

Printer-friendly Version:

pdfSupport 12-Month Continuous Eligibility for Utah Kids with Medicaid

Photo Credit: © Talanis | Dreamstime.com - Family Under The Rain Photo


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express, our "Making a Difference All Year Long" sponsor. Amex

Published in News & Blog
Tagged under

Yesterday, Governor Herbert released his annual state budget recommendations.

The staff of Voices for Utah children found several reasons to be encouraged by his proposals.

We support the Governor and his team for their commitment to social services, and our most vulnerable children and families. Specifically, we applaud the Governor’s fiscally-prudent step to support family planning. This will have important benefits for families, including those in intergenerational poverty. With this investment, the state can expect to see savings by 2019. We thank the Governor for his leadership on this issue critical to children and families.

As an organization dedicated to helping all Utah children and families succeed, we believe that our social safety net provides a critical role to help families who have fallen on hard times get back on their feet. As noted in the Budget Recommendations, Utah has a “longstanding social fabric of self-determination.”

Our state budget priorities should support families’ ability to access and utilize public benefits in their time of need. Utah has the highest rate of children who are eligible for CHIP and Medicaid, but not enrolling in public programs. These children are uninsured and not able to benefit from health care services.

As the Governor declares, “the most effective programs, in terms of both quality outcomes and costs, prioritize preventative service delivery.” We strongly support the Governor’s focus. Health insurance coverage is the foundation to build successful prevention initiatives. We must strengthen and support our health insurance programs so that families and children can achieve their optimal health.

We are encouraged by the Governor’s recognition that early childhood is the cornerstone for lifelong learning. We support the Governor’s appropriation for the Baby Watch Early Intervention program as a critical first step. We look forward to seeing the Governor’s 10-year education plan, and hope the Governor will maintain his commitment to early childhood, so that we can establish a strong foundation for children’s healthy development, setting them up for success in school and beyond.

Voices for Utah Children welcomes Governor Herbert’s call in his FY2018 Budget Recommendations to conduct a comprehensive review of the state’s overall tax structure. In the section entitled “Taxation and a Free Market Economy” on page 9-12 (pages 13-16 of the pdf), there is an extended discussion of the trends and challenges facing Utah in terms of taxes and public revenues. The report highlights the downward trend in Utah’s overall level of taxation (including all state and local taxes and fees) and refers to the growing public sentiment that current revenues fall short of meeting the state’s minimum needs. The Governor declares his intention to address this pressing challenge with two concrete actions:
1. “the Governor will be establishing a task force of business leaders and education stakeholders to develop a comprehensive solution that aligns Utah’s tax structure with the modern economy (not just a rate increase), and
2. will request that the Tax Review Commission study and make recommendations regarding the state’s current tax structure, including alternatives for aligning the tax structure with the modern economy and identifying and reviewing tax credits, tax exemptions, tax exclusions, and other preferential tax loopholes.” (page 12)

The Governor and his team should be applauded for addressing these issues so thoughtfully and directly in the Budget Recommendations document and for his intent to convene further study and discussion about how to address this challenge going forward. In other states across the nation and across the political spectrum, the presence or absence of gubernatorial leadership has been a critical factor in determining whether states have been able to address their pressing challenges.

Voices for Utah Children has for a number of years raised the question of whether the current generation of Utahns is doing its part, as earlier generations did, to set aside sufficient resources each year to invest in the building blocks of our future growth and prosperity. Utah’s longstanding commitment to fiscal responsibility should extend beyond balanced budgets and strong bond ratings to also include taking responsibility for making the necessary investments today that reap benefits for future generations in the years and decades to come.

The complete document is available here:

Budget Recommendations Fiscal Year 2018


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express, our "Making a Difference All Year Long" sponsor. Amex

Published in News & Blog

A new study from the Urban Institute shows the alarming impact of a partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on children and families. As we recently reported, Utah’s uninsured rates dropped in recent years, due to the provisions of the ACA. But if Congress moves forward with a partial repeal of the ACA in 2017, millions of children and families stand to lose coverage nationwide, and here in Utah.

The report from the Urban Institute looks at the partial repeal bill that Congress passed and President Obama vetoed in 2016. The report found:

  • The number of uninsured children would more than double nationwide. More than 4 million could lose coverage. Nationally, the child uninsured rate would jump from an all time low of 4% to 9%.
  • Here in Utah, 273,000 Utahns could lose health insurance leaving an estimated 601,000 adults and children uninsured under the reconciliation bill.
  • Utah stands to lose billions of dollars in state and federal heath care dollars, which will have a dramatic impact on the our state budget and the strength of our safety net.
  • Uncompensated care will increase pressures on state and local governments, as providers seek to meet the growing number of uninsured.

Repealing the ACA without a replacement strategy is not a plan; it’s a risky step that threatens the health and well-being of children and families. Endangering their health without a clear and sound path forward is unsafe and unwise.

For more information, read the complete report:

Implications of Partial Repeal of the ACA through Reconciliation


For 30 years now, Voices for Utah Children has called on our state, federal and local leaders to put children’s needs first. But the work is not done. The children of 30 years ago now have children of their own. Too many of these children are growing up in poverty, without access to healthcare or quality educational opportunities.

How can you be involved?

Make a tax-deductible donation to Voices for Utah Children—or join our Network with a monthly donation of $20 or more.  Network membership includes complimentary admission to Network events with food, socializing, and opportunity to meet child advocacy experts. And don't forget to join our listserv to stay informed!

We look forward to the future of Voices for Utah Children and we hope you will be a part of our next 30 years.

Special thanks to American Express, our "Making a Difference All Year Long" sponsor. Amex

Published in News & Blog