Why Utah’s partial Medicaid expansion is not a good model



July 18, 2019 - 10:26 AM

Over the course of the decade-long effort to expand Medicaid in Kansas, opponents have grasped at a number of gimmicks that impose barriers to providing health coverage to as many as 150,000 hardworking Kansans.

The latest gimmick comes from the state of Utah, which recently received federal approval to implement a partial expansion of Medicaid (the fact that this plan overrides a public referendum supporting full expansion and thus undermines the will of Utah voters is another story). Rather than expand coverage to 138% of the federal poverty level (FPL) — $17,236 for an individual and $29,435 for a family of three — as required by federal law, the Utah plan expands coverage only to 100% FPL — $12,490 for an individual and $21,330 for a family of three.

The Utah model thus becomes the latest plan embraced by opponents as a viable alternative to expansion. Except it may not be viable.

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