|Policy Solution: Pass and Fund SB44
SB44 (Sen. Robles) opens CHIP and Medicaid to approximately 800 otherwise uninsured legal permanent and lawfully present children, by removing the 5-year waiting period. The federal government will pay 80% of the cost ($468,600) of this expansion, a great bargain for Utah. SB44 should be funded through the Medicaid Restricted Account, the Tobacco Settlement Trust Fund, the proposed tobacco tax increase, or state general revenues.
Last year similar legislation was passed in both the House and Senate, though without funding, because of a shared recognition that expanding coverage to these children is an important step in state health system reform. Given the generous 4-to-1 federal match for this option, along with the advantages of covering otherwise uninsured kids, this is an important investment for our state to make, especially in an economic downturn.