Happy 50th Birthday, Medicaid!

28 July 2015 Written by  

Medicaid 50th 3Today we celebrate 50 years since the Medicaid program was signed into law. Over 50 years, Medicaid has improved the health and saved the lives of millions of Americans. Medicaid is not only essential for low-income adults to receive coverage, it’s also vital for the livelihood of America’s children.  Access to Medicaid helps children for the rest of their lives. The National Bureau of Economic Research reports that children with access to high quality health insurance face fewer unnecessary trips to the ER, are more likely to do better in school and earn more money later in life.

Last year, more than 200,000 Utah children were able to use Medicaid to see health care providers and get important services like dental care and annual checkups, fill doctors’ prescriptions and treat common illnesses, such as strep throat or asthma. However, only 73% of the Utah children who are eligible for Medicaid and CHIP are enrolled. Only one state is worse than Utah at enrolling eligible children, according to the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. Their research shows that expanding access to health insurance for parents results in increased enrollment of children.

 

Utah lawmakers recently announced that they have agreed on a framework to expand health insurance coverage and that they intend to consider the plan at a special legislative session. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reveals that states that have expanded Medicaid have found increased budgetary savings.  Contact lawmakers to encourage prompt action to bring Medicaid expansion dollars to Utah at coverthegap.org.

 

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April Young Bennett 300April Young Bennett, Communications Director, joined the organization in 2014. She received her Master of Public Administration from the University of Arizona and her Bachelor in Community Health Education from Utah State University. Prior to joining Voices for Utah Children, April worked for the Utah Department of Health for over a decade, addressing health disparities among minorities and other underserved Utahns. She completed internships and fellowships with the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy and the U.S. Senate.