Utah's uninsured rate in 2002 was 14.1 percent, in 2010 it was 14.3 percent. During that time, Massachusetts enacted a universal health care law. Utah did nothing. In 2009 the federal government passed the ACA and in 2011 it began to go into effect, dropping Utah's uninsured rates to 12.53 percent by 2014. Utah did nothing.
There are an estimated 58,000 Utahns who would be covered by Medicaid expansion. In a recent editorial, speaker Gregory Hughes declared his desire for these residents to have health care ("Why not expanding Medicaid was the right choice for Utah," July 13). Over the last 14 years these people have been without health care, and speaker Hughes didn't come up with a plan to cover them until last year — a plan he couldn't (and wouldn't) sell to his own caucus.
Speaker Hughes claimed in his editorial that Medicaid expansion was too fiscally risky for Utah, but if we give him more time he will come up with a plan that will cover everyone Medicaid expansion will cover, and it will cost us less. I agree with speaker Hughes that Utah needs to act to cover our uninsured, but I do not believe that given another two years he will come up with a plan that has escaped him for the last 14 years.