End of Summer Kids’ Coverage Roundup: Some Positive News on Utah’s “Partial” Medicaid Expansion, But an Alarming Loss in Kids Coverage Overall…

13 September 2019 Written by  

Tell the Governor and Lawmakers: Time for Utah to Move Forward with Full Medicaid Expansion, without Barriers, Restrictions or Delays!

In August, Utah’s request for a “partial” Medicaid expansion was rejected by the federal government. What does this mean? Utah state officials are now preparing a plan for full Medicaid expansion, which could mean that thousands of more individuals would be eligible for Medicaid coverage. We anticipate seeing this new plan sometime in the fall. But the plan could include some additional restrictions and barriers to care. What can you do? Tell the Governor and state leaders to move forward with full Medicaid expansion now, without barriers or delays. The rejection of Utah’s “partial” expansion is good news for kids & families in need of care, but we must continue to advocate for full expansion, without harmful restrictions, as the voters intended! Stay tuned for more updates soon!

Alarming Decline in Children’s Health Insurance: We Can and Must Do More to Help Utah Kids Stay Covered

Recently, the Census bureau released national figures on children’s health coverage. Unfortunately, the data confirmed what experts suspected: More children are becoming uninsured. Most of the coverage loss is occurring among children who previously had Medicaid or CHIP. We will have more updates soon about children’s specific coverage loss here in Utah. But we know that on average 1,000 kids a month are losing CHIP or  Medicaid coverage. Why?

For one thing, we are seeing the impact of our current political climate and federal policies that are hostile to immigrants; there is a clear chilling effect causing many immigrant and mixed status families to not enroll or to withdraw their children from Medicaid or CHIP. The recently-released Public Charge rule, and other policies, are creating a climate of fear and uncertainty for many families.

Another reason for this coverage loss: Utah lacks consistent outreach funding and continuous eligibility policies that can help kids get enrolled and stay enrolled. We need to make sure that we are doing all we can here to help streamline the process and connect kids with coverage. We are grateful to be working alongside community partners and state agencies to address this decline and keep kids covered.

The bottom line: It is unacceptable to see this loss in children’s health coverage, after so many years of progress. When children go uninsured, it has ripple effects throughout their lives. Kids without insurance are not only at a higher risk for poor physical and mental health outcomes, but also miss more days of school and have lower graduation rates; their families are at greater risk for medical debt or bankruptcy.

What can you do? Join the 100% Kids Coverage Campaign so that no Utah child goes uninsured. Together we can achieve 100% coverage for Utah children and create a Utah where all children feel welcome.

Spread the Word to Help More Families Stay Covered

Families can contact 2-1-1 to find out if they’re eligible for CHIP or Medicaid. You can apply for CHIP or Medicaid anytime!

Learn more about the Public Charge rule so we can help families get connected with the most up-to-date and accurate information.

JessieJessie Mandle, Senior Health Policy Analyst, joined the organization in 2015. Prior to joining Voices for Utah Children, Jessie was a Senior Program Planner with the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families, where she focused on nutrition and Out of School Time areas. Jessie also worked as a policy researcher in Johannesburg, South Africa and oversaw a CDC grant for Multnomah County Aging and Disability Services in Portland, Oregon. Most recently, she worked with the Utah Department of Health and the Utah Cancer Action Network. Jessie has a Master's degree in Public Heath from Portland State University and a B.A. in Government from Wesleyan University in Connecticut.