A Utah solution for health care
Posted by Ben McAdams
November 2, 2017
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A long-sought action from the federal government to let Utah offer Medicaid health insurance to the poor, the homeless and those battling drug addiction has come through. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services granted the state’s request for a waiver to provide $100 million in Medicaid funding for thousands of poor Utahns to receive health care.
In 2016, the Utah Legislature passed a bill that would give coverage to several groups, including the chronically homeless, low-income families with children and individuals addicted to drugs who are in the criminal justice system—approximately 10,000 Utahns.
The Medicaid waiver will immediately provide money to expand the number of residential treatment beds for individuals arrested through Operation Rio Grande. A total of 240 new treatment beds will come online by early next year. Treatment as an alternative to jail will ease jail overcrowding and offer a way out for people trapped in a revolving door of crime, arrest, court, and release back onto the streets. It will also help reduce victims of crime and lessen the burden on first responders and hospital emergency rooms.
My responsibility as mayor is to help keep the public safe and allocate precious tax dollars on those programs and services that deliver results. Our partnership with Governor Herbert, members of the Utah legislature, Salt Lake City and others has produced a critical win for everyone I represent in Salt Lake County. I’m proud of our ability to make progress on challenges we face with homelessness, opioid addiction and access to health care.
Read the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune articles about the announcement.
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