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Letter: Medicaid work requirements

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor
Deseret News

When I was diagnosed with lupus in 2012, I knew that my life was going to change forever. I was only 21 years old, and I knew that I was going to have to fight to survive in a world where people with chronic illness struggle to access adequate healthcare. When I turned 26, I could no longer stay on my parents’ insurance, so I applied for Medicaid. At the time, I qualified for PCN — a plan that a doctor once jokingly referred to as a “pretty crappy network.” I didn’t have access to specialists, and I desperately needed to see the right doctors for my condition. It took a hospitalization to connect with a Medicaid enrollment representative who was able to help me apply for full Medicaid, which covered an important surgery at a crucial point in my life. I had to cut back my hours at work in order to keep my income below the threshold, but I finally was able to access the care I needed.

Now, Utah legislators have added work reporting requirements to Medicaid that only make it harder for people to get the care that they need. This doesn’t make any sense. Getting onto Medicaid is hard enough, and work reporting requirements only increase the likelihood that folks won’t complete the paperwork necessary to maintain care — even if they qualify. Access to healthcare shouldn’t be contingent on one’s ability to work. As a state, we can do better than that.

Elise Nielsen

Salt Lake City