SALT LAKE CITY — In Utah, efforts to increase access to health care for low-income expectant mothers are stagnating.
This week, lawmakers rejected the idea despite pleas from doctors and child activists for them to take action.
Representative Ray Ward, a Republican from Bountiful, who was the measure’s sponsor, expressed his disappointment to the House Business and Labor Committee on Monday for eliminating a portion of the plan that would have expanded Medicaid coverage to include more low-income women.
In an interview with KSL TV on Tuesday, Ward stated, “I understand that we cannot provide every bit of health care to every person, and I don’t think we should try to do that.” What services do you believe we ought to offer there? My list includes pregnancy coverage.
Doctor Ward contended that Medicaid expansion would use current funding, thus taxpayers would not incur any additional costs. Rep. Norm Thurston, a Republican from Provo, however, opposed him, claiming the state cannot afford it.
He declared, “I don’t think this is a great year for Medicaid expansion.” “Not a lot of new money has come in.”
Thurston continued, “With the Affordable Care Act or through their employers, women already have access to health plans.”
Thurston stated, “It’s just a very expensive way of doing policy, and we have to accept responsibility for people who are already being paid through their work or through the federal program.”
Ward’s idea was supported by retired doctor Bill Cosgrove, who worked for 34 years. He claimed that more pregnant women in Utah would have been able to receive healthcare, which would have been advantageous for both them and their unborn children.
Cosgrove remarked, “Health care is really expensive.” It costs a lot of people money.
According to Cosgrove, the MPs’ decision to reject the plan was ill-considered and could have negative effects on the offspring of lower-class mothers in the future.
Cosgrove stated, “We can invest a few dollars while they’re still young, or we can hoard that money and hope that everything works out and then build a bigger prison in 20 years.”
The bill’s proponent, Ward, declared he would not give up. However, another provision of his measure would keep hospitals’ money for a previous Medicaid expansion in Utah going in the interim. Ward intends to revisit the bill and, at the very least, get that portion passed. In less than a month, the legislative session comes to a close.