Greg Bell: A vote on Medicaid is coming — here's what Utah voters need to know

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  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2018 12:35 p.m.

    When people aren't concerned because the federal gov't will pick up a big chunk of the cost remember who the federal gov't is. The taxpayers. Taxpayers are going to get hit hard at the federal & state level.

    The costs of Medicaid & Medicare are not sustainable. It is that simple. Ways have to be found to rein in the health care lobbyists, insurance companies, get more people working and contributing in society, push more employers to offer affordable health care insurance that at least offers preventative care, basic health care, and help with genetic chronic diseases people may be suffering with. In return hold individuals more responsible for their day to day care of their health. With the right to health care goes responsibility to take the best care of yourself that you can and make responsible choices that will cut down on your health care costs. People can't have it all. People that refuse to take any personal responsibility for their health should have to pay higher premiums and have to pay a premium with Medicaid as well.

    We have become too liberal of a society when it comes to people taking personal responsibility for their lives, choices, and health care issues.

  • pragmatistferlife Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2018 7:53 a.m.

    Nonames you say "People demand the right to make their own life choices, but then demand that I pay for the consequences of those choices." , then you go on to list what you believe to be a list of bad behaviors.

    The idea that poor health is primarily the result of poor behaviors (your implication) is entirely false. You health is vastly more influenced by your genetics than your behavior.

    The book Genes, Behavior, and the Social Environment. states, "Although there are many possible causes of human disease, family history is often one of the strongest risk factors for common disease complexes such as cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and psychiatric illnesses."

    Talk with a medical researcher and you'll get the same answer (yes I have).

    Behavior can certainly influence health. Personally I credit active cardio exercise for allowing me the time to get to the hospital and live through what should have been a fatal heart attack. However, it didn't prevent the event, nor did it prevent the hundreds of thousands of dollars it has cost me and you (medicare, and insurance) since then.

  • Fullypresent Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2018 12:42 a.m.

    Medicaid was meant to be a safety net program. Disincentives people to work or take care of themselves.

    Access
    There already aren't enough providers for Medicaid. Why expand coverage?

    Disability Medicaid.
    How many people are on this that could actually work? How many refused to take care of their health or abused drugs/alcohol which resulted in their disability status?

    Single Parenthood/Lifestyle Choice.
    How many women are having children as single individuals and assume Medicaid will be there to pay for all these children? How many are substance abusing moms resulting in much higher health care costs for them and their children?

    Costs.
    Insurance companies & administrative cost structure for health care heavily add to the cost of health care.

    Medicare vs. Medicaid.
    Nearly 25% of Medicaid recipients are 65 or older. Why? Also, what is being done about fraud/waste in both these programs?

    Prisons/Jails
    Look at incarceration rates & Medicaid costs tied to this.

    Drug Costs
    U.S. pays the highest drug costs in the world. Why? Middlemen count for 1/3 of the cost of drugs. Why?

    Refuges, immigrants, undocumented
    How many are on Medicaid, Medicare, public assistance?

  • Schwa Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 19, 2018 12:17 a.m.

    Here's what you need to know -- Medicaid saves lives.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Aug. 18, 2018 7:24 p.m.

    @no names

    Where is the hard statistic that poor people are as you describe. I make six figures and I could easily land on Medicaid if my insurance decides not to pay for my sons 50k a year medical bills and my own health problems.

    I have empathy for the poor and I have empathy for taxpayers like you. There is a lot of smart people in this country and if we took politics out of healthcare we could find better solutions.

  • Ldsrm Spanish Fork, UT
    Aug. 18, 2018 6:22 p.m.

    I think having helth insurence for everyone required would cover Medicare, mdicade or the employee .
    This way Medicade and meda care are very much covered fairly with all the other medical insurance expense

  • pragmatistferlife Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 18, 2018 4:40 p.m.

    "If people don't want to graduate high school, want to get pregnant before they are married, want to get addicted to drugs, or have money for cable TV, smartphones, tattoos, piercings, nails/lashes/hair, soda pop/beer/junk food, not m business. But also not my obligation to fund their healthcare."

    Thank you for once again reminding us of the uniformed and selfish attitude of the modern libertarian Republican.

    Health problems are far more likely to be genetically and environmentally caused than behaviorally caused.

    "Although there are many possible causes of human disease, family history is often one of the strongest risk factors for common disease complexes such as cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and psychiatric illnesses. " From the book Genes, Behavior, and the Social Environment"

    Add in pure bad luck and accidents, and your selfish proclamation of bad behaviors pales in comparison.

    A healthy society is an efficient society.

  • Florwood American Fork, UT
    Aug. 18, 2018 11:46 a.m.

    I thought this was a balanced, informative presentation on the two alternatives. I lean toward the initiative--it is much more likely to be a legal alternative, and the sales tax is a more representative way to fund the state's portion.

  • Moag Farmington, UT
    Aug. 18, 2018 10:31 a.m.

    KanataHal, thank you for your thoughtful comments and the fact that you ended them with “ no harm meant to any M.D.“ I used to agree that doctors were paid too much until my son decided to become one. After four years of rigorous undergraduate study, he then went on to four more years of medical school at about $80,000 per year—total medical school debt is around $400,000. Then, an additional three years of residency doing 18-24 hour shifts and being paid barely enough to even live on. What they go through in medical school is brutal. I have only checked the statistics for two medical schools/ residency programs, but one of them had an 80% divorce rate and the other had a 100% divorce rate! After seeing what he has gone through, I decided I would probably never complain about a doctor’s bill again! I think our healthcare system has some serious flaws based on multiple factors including insurance costs, legal costs, pharmaceutical costs, Medicaid costs, etc., but under our current form of “managed healthcare,” it is really not the doctors’ salaries that are the problem.

  • Moag Farmington, UT
    Aug. 18, 2018 9:46 a.m.

    Impartial7, when you say “Bell, whom [sic] profited millions from insurance payments...”, what are your facts to support such an exaggerated statement? I know Greg Bell, and a more honorable man you will not find. If you have facts to support your statement, then provide them rather than just assuming. Your name “Impartial” would seem to require that. Otherwise, such representations are uninformed slander of a good man at best, and blatant dishonesty at worst.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 18, 2018 9:35 a.m.

    The only free cheese is in a mousetrap.

    90% federal funding sounds great, but few people bother to realize that the feds are on the hook already for $21 Trillion in national debt, plus gazillions more for Social Security and Medicare where they have spent the money supposedly in "the lockbox" and have to repay those IOUs as well. Not to mention interest on the national debt and anything else we borrow.

    Only a fool will think that the 90% federal money will stay that way, and not be reduced significantly if not eliminated entirely. That leaves Utah taxpayers obligated to pay more and more for Medicaid expansion forever. And, be stuck with inefficient federal rules and bureaucracy to hobble the system.

    Give money to charities to help pay for treatment of the poor.

    Force the poor to eat better and exercise and not do drugs and that will cut costs.

    Going after "free cheese" for instant gratification and to allow politicians to show "they care" is the wrong thing to do for long term improvement in life for all Utahns.

    Medicaid expansion is a trap, albeit well intentioned, it is fatally flawed.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Aug. 18, 2018 6:36 a.m.

    The attempt to equate the conservative position on health care with rational choices for the general welfare of the American public (isn't that in the Constitution somewhere, or did I misunderstand that part) is heinously callous and devoid of a good Christian ethic. I especially love the part where the veiled accusation is made that any good liberal/progressive doesn't contribute to charities that assist the poor. Or that our collective purses will be raided with a guaranteed health plan in this country. Folks, we are already paying for the health care of those who make mistakes. We are only arguing about how we pay for it.

    Shameful. Callous.

  • KanataHal Ottawa, 00
    Aug. 17, 2018 11:15 p.m.

    This Medicaid sounds as if it has the worst elements of both free enterprise and socialism combined. If the medical profession is getting all this public money there should be correspondingly greater government control on how much they can charge. In Canada for example, doctors get paid directly from the provincial governments and it's the government that sets the prices. Doctors therefore do not charge whatever the market can bear. They are kind of like civil servants. MDs here usually earn approx $200 - 300k per year so they are still well paid. If American doctors earn more than this, it would seem that increasing Medicaid will make already wealthy US doctors even more wealthy. Just thought the comparison would be appreciated - no harm meant to any MD.

  • B-Real2 Saratoga Springs, UT
    Aug. 17, 2018 10:17 p.m.

    Hard to feel great about Medicaid expansion when people treat their bodies so poorly. Americans have terrible health. There shouldn’t just be job requirements, there should be an expectation that an individual will improve their health in general. How to do that? No idea. But you get the idea...many of us will foot the bill for these costs, can we simply expect the participants to own their health choices?

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Aug. 17, 2018 9:54 p.m.

    If you believe that every human being deserves access to health care, then why not step up, spend your own money to start a non-profit and provide opportunities for the poor or near poor to obtain it.

    If you don't believe that every person ought to have access to health care, then please just say so. Enough with the lame excuses involving the need for government to expand yet another entitlement program or for your neighbors to pay ever higher taxes. Put your money where your mouth is.

    If health care for all is important, you could find the means and the money to make it so. However, as a member of the ever shrinking percentage of people who actually pay federal and State income taxes I am really tired of these worn out efforts to take ever more of my paycheck.

    People demand the right to make their own life choices, but then demand that I pay for the consequences of those choices. If people don't want to graduate high school, want to get pregnant before they are married, want to get addicted to drugs, or have money for cable TV, smartphones, tattoos, piercings, nails/lashes/hair, soda pop/beer/junk food, not m business. But also not my obligation to fund their healthcare.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Aug. 17, 2018 7:30 p.m.

    If you believe that every human being deserves access to health care, then why not expand the opportunities for the poor or near poor to obtain it.

    If you don't believe that every person ought to have access to health care, then please just say so. Enough with the lame excuses involving federalism, taxes, deficits, etc.

    If health care for all is important, we will find the means and the money to make it so. However, I am really tired of this worn out debate.

  • Mark from Montana Davis County, UT
    Aug. 17, 2018 3:30 p.m.

    It is time to just bite the bullet and make the hard decision. Get rid of Medicaid, completely. Put half of the savings into Defense spending (we still are not safe enough, plus that way we can fund the annual military parade) and half into lower taxes. Actually, we need to abolish all taxes on all earnings over $25,000. That gives the uber-rich a big payday and they will help out the poor.
    That will increase the deficit, but only temporarily. The added spending, and resulting higher job growth will spur taxes and the deficit will come down. The US will be envy of the entire world, and we will be Great Again.

    Most importantly, only the poor will be paying taxes, as it should be. If you don't like it, well, I agree with Marie Antoinette. You know, that whole bit about eating cake. While we are at it, lets cut Social Security too. People need to be working, and working will help them stay warm.

  • cmsense Kaysville, UT
    Aug. 17, 2018 3:19 p.m.

    Expansion needs to happen. There are too many needy falling through the cracks. Health insurance has become so expensive that anyone in this income range cannot afford insurance or healthcare. It would be interesting to know the suicide rates and death rates in this now uninsured population vs the rest of Utah.

    Employers are often gaming the system. They hire other firms as "contractors", and those small firms then don't provide any benefits. Then when you are making $9 per hour with no benefits, you just go without insurance. Met a guy with life threatening medical issues and because of the above, does not have insurance. He has been working a job for a few years and has struggled to find a better job. He works alongside employees of a large firm for many months now.

    A 90% match should be a no brainer. They are even proposing how to pay for the 10% on the ballot.

  • Susan Storm Sandy, UT
    Aug. 17, 2018 11:49 a.m.

    What would happen to those people who have babies or treatment without this insurance?

    In the old days, the country docs could be paid in chickens or produce. Poor people could barter or pay in installments - and the costs were far lower.

    Now the bills are outrageous. 18k for an ambulance ride? 2k for a simple xray? These costs are so inflated and it's just not sustainable.

  • SMcloud Sandy, UT
    Aug. 17, 2018 11:48 a.m.

    They should expand it. Many of the people on Medicaid work part time or jobs that don't provide healthcare coverage. There has to be a way for the poor, disabled and working poor to access healthcare - and the current state of obese healthcare isn't affordable for even middle class families.

    Other countries have already figured this out: cover everyone, and the government passes laws to suppress costs.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Aug. 17, 2018 10:30 a.m.

    Utah should've expanded Medicaid many years ago. Now, that the inevitable is happening, Bell, whom profited millions from insurance payments, is trying to act like this has his endorsement.