Our country’s healthcare system offers innovative and high quality medical service. Unfortunately, excessive costs and inefficiencies burden patients and prevent many of society’s most vulnerable from receiving care. For decades, the growth in healthcare costs has outpaced inflation and income growth, a dynamic that makes important medical care increasingly difficult to afford and diminishes middle class Americans’ purchasing power. We must also confront the prevalence of preventable health issues like obesity and diabetes by creating a healthcare system that prioritizes preventive medicine and long-term care.
The 111th Congress and President Obama delivered the country a huge boon in passing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has expanded coverage and provided regulation to limit administrative costs, but our fragmented system needs more power to control growth in costs and limit bureaucracy and waste. But there’s still work to be done. Here in Utah, our state legislature has delayed full Medicaid expansion for more than three years now, leaving thousands of Utahns without health coverage.
Utah Democrats will prioritize healthcare reform that ensures all Utahns can access affordable medical coverage and services. We will fight to protect the Affordable Care Act and the more than 16 million Americans to whom it guaranteed insurance coverage. In protecting groups who struggle to afford coverage and strengthening insurance regulation, the law promotes affordable insurance coverage and quality care, while also preventing the outrageous risk of bankruptcy from medical disaster. Utah has yet to take full advantage of healthcare reform, and Utah Democrats will work to expand Medicaid to cover the hard-working Utah families who lack the incomes and job opportunities necessary to afford care.
Utah Democrats believe we must adapt our current system to consider long-term needs. The Affordable Care Act is already helping Utahns view their health in the long term. For example, by focusing on preventive care, the ACA not only keeps Utahns healthy, but also saves families and taxpayers millions of dollars’ worth of emergency care. Additionally, since the ACA’s main provisions took effect in early 2014, we’ve seen a dramatic decrease in Utah’s uninsured rate – a rate that will further decrease when our state legislature approves Medicaid expansion.
Along with looking out for Medicaid, we will also work to protect Medicare from changes that hurt seniors. The Medicare system needs reform to ensure long-term solvency, but increasing retirees’ costs or reducing their services represents an unacceptable compromise for those who have worked and earned quality coverage in retirement.
Utah Democrats believe we need an effective healthcare system to build a successful economy and to allow all Americans to work for their dreams.
Utah Democrats have supported proposals to create an expanded Medicaid program in our state. Whereas many Utah Republicans seem willing to just say no, our Utah Democrats work towards an economically viable and human-focused healthcare solution. Republicans in the legislature have attempted to table and derail Medicaid expansion, even though it has the support of a large majority of Utahns, but Utah Dems have voted again and again to move Medicaid expansion (in the form of the “Healthy Utah” compromise, S.B. 164) forward. Healthy Utah would empower our state government to enact a Medicaid expansion plan fitting Utah’s economy and people. While the GOP keeps stalling and allowing Utahns to die while waiting for coverage, Utah Democrats keep fighting.
House Minority Whip Rebecca Chavez-Houck has helped lead the fight for Medicaid expansion, and her voice has kept the issue at the forefront of Utah politics. Read her direct and insightful op-ed on the issue. Thank you to our Democrats in the legislature for fighting for a healthier, more equitable Utah!