Record editorial: A vote for full Medicaid expansion in Utah is one for a basic human right | ParkRecord.com

Record editorial: A vote for full Medicaid expansion in Utah is one for a basic human right

Access to health care is a basic human right.

That's a statement that aligns with Park City's values. In Utah, however, it remains a lofty ideal rather than a reality.

Proposition 3's passage would go a long way toward making it one.

If passed, Prop 3 would expand Medicaid coverage to Utahns living on up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, or $33,948 for a family of four. A 0.15 percent state sales tax increase would pay for 10 percent of the expansion, while the federal government would pony up the rest — money that we could have been taking advantage of for years if lawmakers hadn't dragged their feet on implementing full expansion even as low-income residents in more than 30 other states enjoyed the benefits of the additional coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Prop 3 opponents have argued that the scaled-back plan the Legislature passed earlier this year is a better option because it doesn't require a sales tax increase. That plan's inadequacies, however, are glaring. The alternative before voters allows for a much more robust expansion, providing access to Medicaid for approximately 80,000 more Utahns than the Legislature's plan.

Crucially, Prop 3 would also do away with a lawmaker-approved requirement that people work, volunteer or attend school to receive coverage. Research has shown the vast majority of able-bodied people eligible for Medicaid already work, and such a requirement runs counter to the ostensible goal of providing health care to people in need.

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For those of us who enjoy solid health coverage through our employers or otherwise, it can be easy to take it for granted. We struggle to put a face on the health care crisis.

But many of our fellow Parkites would benefit from a full Medicaid expansion in Utah. For the underserved population in Park City, going without health insurance is a fact of life. That's why an organization like the People's Health Clinic, which provides care for uninsured people in Summit and Wasatch counties, is such a critical part of our community.

This election, we have an opportunity to lift the burden of being uninsured from many of our neighbors in Summit County and thousands of people across Utah. Vote in favor of Prop 3 and in support of the ideal that everyone should have access to health care.