UPDATE: SEN. CHRISTENSEN ANNOUNCED THIS AFTERNOON THAT HE WILL NO LONGER BE RUNNING SB 48 THIS YEAR. PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO THANK HIM FOR RECONSIDERING THE BILL!
Back in 2016, thanks to a unanimous vote by legislative committee, Utah adjusted its Medicaid coverage rules so that hundreds of legal immigrant children could get health coverage right away, instead of waiting five years. This state change came on the heels of a federal rule change that got rid of the pre-existing five-year waiting period, and gave states money to cover the newly eligible kids.
Removing the five-year waiting period has been a great change for Utah, a cost-effective way to extend health care coverage to about 475 kids — so far! — who otherwise might delay treatment and care until a trip to the emergency room is the only option.
This year a bill has been proposed to reinstate the five-year waiting period for all legal immigrant kids seeking insurance through CHIP or Medicaid, which would cause 475 Utah children to lose their health insurance immediately and hundreds of others who might qualify to be denied coverage.
Why? The bill sponsor, Sen. Allen Christensen (Davis/Weber/Summit-R) hopes to save taxpayer money. However, the current program costs no money to the state and saves Utah families the added costs of resorting instead to emergent care.
We commended Sen. Christensen for his noble stance supporting health care for autistic children last year. Please urge him to protect affordable access to health care for Utah children now by reconsidering a bill that shows no measurable benefit to the state, but would harm Utah children and their families.