State Policy

 

The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) lifts 60,000 Utahns out of poverty each year, half of them children, by letting low-income families keep more of what they earn.

EITC helps working families make ends meet.

EITC keeps families working.

EITC reduces poverty, especially among children.

EITC put $426 mil. back into Utah’s economy in 2017.

A state EITC targeted to families living in intergenerational poverty (IGP) will give a boost to the 25,000 working families who qualify for the federal EITC and file state taxes.

It will ensure that eligible working families receive 10% of federal EITC - up to $640 depending on income and number of children.

A state EITC may increase participation in the federal EITC. Only 75% of tax filers take advantage of the federal EITC

No bureaucracy or staff to administer.

 

FISCAL IMPACT

$6 million from General Fund which is a small portion of the over $25 million in state and local taxes paid every year by these working families.

Simply put, 58,820 children identified as living in intergenerational poverty amounts to $102 per child.

 

STATES WITH A STATE EITC

Twenty-nine states across the nation and political spectrum have created state EITCs.

 

EITC has strong bipartisan support

 “… the proposed EITC helps people who are ready and able to help themselves escape intergenerational poverty through work…It is both sound economic policy and prudent welfare policy… It is good for those in poverty, good for the economy, and good for taxpayers as well.” Sutherland Institute

“I know of no public policy innovation over the past 30 years to help low-income individuals that has as much promise as Utah’s intergenerational poverty work. When combined with an EITC, Utah will be able to show the nation how public policies that are targeted, incentivize work, are fiscally constrained and include measurable outcomes are the best way to help families and children with great need.”

Natalie Gochnour

Associate Dean, David Eccles School of Business,

University of Utah, Deseret News column, March 1, 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

boy with calendarDuring the 2017 Legislative session, Utah lawmakers will be making decisions daily that will affect our state’s children and their families. At Voices for Utah Children, we know it’s important to make sure that decision makers have up-to-date, accurate, and accessible data to base their decisions on. That’s where our Utah KIDS COUNT Project comes in. Our annual “Measures of Child Well-Being” provides data on a variety of indicators at the county level.

In addition, this year, the Utah KIDS COUNT project is proud to introduce our latest data product: a “page-a-day” countdown calendar! This daily electronic legislative calendar not only shares data, highlights programs, and policy solutions but also serves as a reminder of how many days are left in the legislative session to make a difference for kids. Please follow us @utchildren on twitter and like us on Facebook in order to get involved electronically as we count down the days in this year’s legislative session.


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
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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.

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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

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At Voices for Utah Children, we firmly believe in and support the innate right of all people to live their lives free of harassment, intimidation, and fear. People of all races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, nationalities and sexual orientation help make Utah the vibrant and wonderful place it is. Our country has a history of oppression and violence toward marginalized people that we cannot deny and must oppose at every opportunity. Sadly, the rhetoric of the presidential campaign seems to have further emboldened those with discriminatory views. While they existed before the election season, recent reports of acts of hate and bigotry against children in schools and throughout our communities have rattled our sense of who we are as Utahns and Americans.

We applaud Governor Herbert and State Superintendent Dickson for their recent joint statement condemning harassment and bullying in Utah schools, and would ask that they, and community leaders across Utah, continue to take an active stand against any acts of hatred or bigotry committed in our state.

—The Board and Staff of Voices for Utah Children


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

This new 3-minute video, featuring Lincoln Nehring, President and CEO of Voices for Utah Children and policy experts at the Georgetown Center for Children and Families, describes the plight of Utah families in the healthcare coverage gap. In Utah, a single mom with two children must earn $756/month or less to qualify for Medicaid.  "That is painfully low," points out Nehring. In most other states, a parent can earn triple that amount and still qualify.

Joan Alker of Georgetown lists three reasons Utah should expand access to coverage:

  1. A healthier parent is a better parent.
  2. Children are more likely to be insured if their parents are insured.
  3. The whole family must be insured to protect the family from medical debt and bankruptcy.

The good news? "States can expand Medicaid at any time—the sooner the better," says Nehring.

Utah Health Coverage Gap from Georgetown CCF on Vimeo.


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

Recent Census data show that Utah has made some improvements when it comes to reducing child poverty, but Utah Hispanic or Latino children are still disproportionately experiencing poverty, compared to their White peers.

Looking at the overall poverty rates, Utah children fare better than the rest of the United State, the so-called “Utah advantage”. But the gap between White children and Hispanic children in Utah is alarming: 25% of Hispanic children live in poverty, compared to 9% of White children.

The poverty rate for Utah Hispanic children declined in 2015, while the rate for Utah White children remained relatively stagnant. The poverty rate for Utah children overall stayed at 13%. Although the decline in poverty rates for Hispanic children is encouraging, the gap between White children and Hispanic children is still too wide.

Utah’s 2015 child poverty data underscore the need for an equity review of our programs and policies: Why are some racial and ethnic groups making progress, while other groups stagnate? How do we close the economic divide between Hispanic and White children?
Going forward, politicians and decision-makers need to look at the impact our policies have on children of all racial and ethnic groups, so we can strengthen what’s working and re-evaluate what’s not.

For more information, see Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015.

A closer look at the numbers: Why only White and Hispanic children?
We are sharing child poverty data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. For child poverty rates in Utah, unless multiple years of data are aggregated, statistically-significant Census findings are only available for the following racial and ethnic categories: non-Hispanic White, Hispanic or Latino, and 2 or more races. Unfortunately we do not have data available for all groups of children in our state. As recent Utah Department of Health Office of Heath Disparities reports highlight, disparities affect all children of color in our state. We need more child-specific data, disaggregated by race and ethnicity, so we can understand how policy decisions are affecting all groups of children in Utah.


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