Deseret News
Letter to the editor

The Utah legislature is considering repealing or limiting a November initiative to extend Medicaid to the very needy. Over half the voters approved this, which will benefit much less than half the population — classic Utah unselfishness.

Insurance is important. Saturday’s mail brought a bill for my December visit to a local emergency room. Total charges: $3,079. “Contractual adjustments” by my insurance company: $2,597 — an 84 percent reduction. (The insurance company paid most of the remaining 16 percent.) We have seen similar adjustments for years, for minor and major events.

A friend with a full-time, low-paying job is permanently lame. An ER amputated his badly infected big toe, billing him $11,000 and perhaps saving his life. A much cheaper doctor’s visit earlier, for which he had no insurance, would have gotten him antibiotics and saved his toe.

11 comments on this story

This is awful. Without insurance, the very needy don’t go to the doctor. Minor problems become unnecessarily expensive, debilitating or fatal. Between big “contractual adjustments” and small payments, insurance will protect the very needy from outrageously high bills, for emergency and ordinary care. This will give them access to medical care.

We can afford Medicaid expansion. Utah voters want it. It is important for the very needy. The legislature has no business second-guessing us.

Hyde Merrill