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The low-income may have to pick: Medicaid or car

Cars and Medicaid are both important to low-income Utahns not receiving welfare benefits. Without additional funding or a change of policy, however, they may have to make a choice between the two.

Legislators at the Workforce Services Interim Committee meeting Wednesday squirmed at the additional $1.4 million the Division of Workforce Services estimated it would cost to extend car-owning benefits to everyone on Medicaid.Currently, Medicaid recipients who are on welfare can own a car valued at $8,000 without losing benefits. Those not on welfare are limited to cars at the $1,500 mark, said Helen Thatcher of Workforce Services.

Legislators fear that raising the asset limit for non-welfare Medicaid recipients would increase the number who qualify for welfare.