Utah, like many other conservative states, resisted calls for more government intervention in healthcare through Obamacare, one of the most regulated and expensive government programs in existence. As government meddling in the market has increased, the cost of healthcare is skyrocketing and many American families are finding it increasingly difficult to afford their own care.
Because all state spending originates in the legislature, we did a thorough investigation into what the proposed expansion of Obamacare in Utah would cost and found the burden to taxpayers far too risky. We then looked at what was happening in those states that had already chosen to adopt Obamacare. They were plagued with out-of-control costs and families being pushed out of private coverage. We came to the conclusion that Obamacare Medicaid expansion wasn’t a great deal for Utah.
Time has borne out the wisdom of that choice. Just a few weeks ago, we learned that Medicaid expansion would have cost Utah taxpayers an additional $380 million more per year than projected two years ago. Even worse, if the state had expanded using the Healthy Utah Plan touted by many as a unique Utah solution, taxpayers would have been on the hook for a full $680 million more per year than the estimates that were provided. Either one of these scenarios would have led to catastrophic cuts in other state spending priorities, primarily education and other government health programs.
As a state, we believe in self-reliance, hard work and taking care of those truly unable to care of themselves. The Medicaid program is meant to do just that by covering the elderly poor, those with certain disabilities and children. We recognize that, as well, many suffering from mental illness and substance abuse problems are finding themselves without access to the proper care that will get them to a more stable place. We are proud of the fact that earlier this year we expanded Medicaid to these individuals.
This expansion allows the legislature to work with a budget that Utah taxpayers can afford, which wasn’t permitted through Obamacare. The legislature also recently adopted judicial reforms and reinvestments led by Rep. Eric Hutchings, which focuses on improving the lives of individuals in a more holistic way. Rather than simply expanding coverage to an ever-growing group of people, when we implement state solutions in conjunction with reform efforts, we create hope and opportunity in the lives of those suffering and hopefully provide a path out of government programs and toward self-reliance.
This is at the heart of our success as a state. As we encourage and provide opportunities for individuals to become healthy, capable and productive, they add to the vibrancy of our community as workers, business owners, mentors and leaders, rather than just becoming another government statistic.
Your legislature is working for the good people of Utah. We all have a part to play in the building of better communities in our great state, and ultimately, a better nation. This won’t be done through the trappings of federal entitlement programs. It must be done through reforms and decision-making happening at the local level, and through coordination and collaboration that rises above partisan politics.
I will always strive to let good information drive good decisions, to do what is best, rather than what is politically expedient, for the betterment of all people of this state.
“Representative Hughes understands the need to limit federal overreach in healthcare by fighting Obamacare mandates. He understands that the more government interferes with healthcare, the more expensive and inefficient it becomes. I stand with Greg Hughes because he speaks for me.”
-Dr. Paul Harrison, M.D.
“Representative Greg Hughes has shown tremendous leadership by standing up to special interests and fighting for what is best for the residents of our state. As a physician, I know the more government inserts itself into the healthcare of its citizens, the greater control it has over them and their lives.”
-Dr. Kelly Myers, M.D.
“I appreciate and respect Representative Greg Hughes’ understanding of our national healthcare issues and how they impact us locally. We need a strong leader like Greg Hughes who has demonstrated his unyielding efforts to fight the negative consequences of Obamacare. He knows that the battle against Obamacare will allow doctors to maintain their ability to provide quality healthcare and continue to be the leading innovators in their professions. He truly puts the best interests of his constituents and their quality of life as his top priority.”
-Dr. Steven Skanchy, DDS, MS