Utahns express overwhelming support for Healthy Utah plan

Utahns overwhelmingly support Gov. Herbert’s Healthy Utah plan to provide health insurance for those most vulnerable in our state according to a poll released this week.

“The poll shows that the more people understand The Healthy Utah plan, the more they like it,” said Gov. Herbert. “I’ve said all along that doing nothing is not an option but pushing people into a one-size-fits-all federal Medicaid program isn’t the answer either.”

Dan Jones & Associates polled 623 registered Utah voters found:

  •  88 percent favor Gov. Herbert’s  Healthy Utah  plan over doing nothing
  • 70  percent prefer the Healthy Utah plan over Medicaid expansion
  • 59 percent support or strongly support the Healthy Utah plan
  • 83 percent believe all legal Utah residents should have access to affordable health care insurance
  • 54  percent would more likely to support candidates who back Gov. Herbert’s Healthy Utah plan.

The poll also shows that 71 percent of Utah voters believe it’s appropriate for the state to accept medical assistance in health care from the federal government. The funds would be used to provide assistance to individuals who make under $15,500 a year. The exact amount given to each person would depend on their:

  • Ability to work
  • Household income
  • Access to employer or family health insurance
  • Individual health care needs

Gov. Herbert’s plan also includes a work requirement, so that those who are able to work will contribute a modest amount toward their coverage. Those who cannot work would have no such requirement.

Sixty-five percent also agree that individuals and families should be generally responsible for meeting their own health care needs. All participants in Healthy Utah would also be responsible to make co-payments to help pay for the cost of their care.

Utah faces this issue due to a flaw in the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare or ACA), which created a hole in Utah’s safety net. Approximately 111,000 people who live at, or slightly above, the poverty level would be helped by the Healthy Utah plan. Utah did not create the problem, but we can do something to help.

Utahns already pay $680 million in taxes related to the ACA; the federal government is offering to contribute $258 million to help Utah cover those living in poverty. We are already paying the taxes, so we should do our best to get the money back and put it to good use. If we do nothing, uncompensated care will continue to shift significant costs to consumers and businesses in the form of higher costs of private health insurance and Obamacare penalties.

The Healthy Utah plan begins as a three-year pilot program to ensure the state maintains flexibility. The proposal first requires a state innovations waiver, which the governor has been working to negotiate with the Obama administration.

The Healthy Utah plan has broad support from the public and beyond. University of Utah Health Care is one of the many institutions backing up the Healthy Utah plan. Here’s their video explaining why: