August 28, 2014

The Economics of the Healthy Utah Plan: A Preliminary Analysis

This economic analysis of the Healthy Utah Plan was funded by Voices for Utah Children and completed by Sven E. Wilson, PhD. The Healthy Utah plan is the governor's proposal to use Medicaid expansion funds to provide health insurance to people who are currently not covered by Medicaid and who do not earn enough to qualify for subsidies.

The report offered the following conclusions and recommendations:



There is a lot of uncertainty related to the Healthy Utah plan. Usually the presence of uncertainty argues for exercising caution. Shouldn’t the state exercise caution in moving forward on bold, new plans?

Yes. But caution does not mean inaction. The costs to inaction in this case are millions of dollars in foregone benefits to state residents with each passing week. Those losses are certain, and they are not coming back.

The ACA is drastically re‐shaping American health care. Most Utahns, according to opinion polls, believe these changes are not for the better. But the state has no power to undo the ACA or to ignore its requirements or the taxes associated with it.

What the state does have the power to do is reclaim part of the funds that state residents are already contributing to fund the ACA. The Healthy Utah plan may or may not be the ideal option to make that happen, but it clearly brings hundreds of millions of dollars into the state to help low‐income residents who have no other means of obtaining health insurance. It does so at minimal risk to state budgets and at considerable gain to the state economy. 

The economic case for moving forward with Healthy Utah at this time is compelling. Policymakers can move forward with confidence—even with the uncertainty that faces us.



Download the complete report here:

The Economics of the Healthy Utah Plan: A Preliminary Analysis