Skip to main content
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Poverty-related issues in the news, from the Institute for Research on Poverty

Tag: Utah

States and Medicaid Expansion

Republicans lead Medicaid expansion push in 2 holdout states, By Mattie Quinn, March 30, 2018, Governing: “After five years of failed attempts to expand Medicaid, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill last week to do just that. It may come as a surprise that the bill was sponsored by a Republican. Republicans have historically opposed making more low-income people eligible for the government health insurance program. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Obama’s signature legislation, the federal government pays 90 to 100 percent of the costs for any state that expands. But Republican-led states have been slow to expand Medicaid, and nearly 20 of them still have not…”

Intergenerational Poverty

  • Despite modest gains, ‘intergenerational poverty’ is still a challenge in Utah, report says, By Christopher Smart, October 2, 2017, Salt Lake Tribune: “Childhood poverty continues to decline modestly in Utah, according to a state evaluation, but intergenerational poverty, in which two or more generations remain at low-income levels, remains stagnant. In 2016, 39,376 adults and 59,579 children were in intergenerational poverty, according to the state’s sixth annual Intergenerational Poverty Report released Monday…”
  • Breaking the cycle of poverty, two generations at a time, By Dwyer Gunn, October 4, 2017, Pacific Standard: “On Wednesday afternoons, Toneshia Forshee picks up her son, a four-year-old who suffers from optic nerve hypoplasia and wears thick Coke-bottle glasses, from the early childhood education center he attends in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She brings him home to her immaculate two-bedroom apartment in a well-maintained complex down the street from a Sonic burger joint. She makes dinner for her son and her one-year-old daughter, and the threesome eats together at a table in the corner of the living room, under a painstakingly arranged gallery wall of family photographs interspersed with wooden signs reading ‘Hope,’ ‘Love,’ and ‘Life’ in decorative script. After dinner, Forshee tucks her kids into bed and, four nights a week, she heads to work…”

Medicaid Cuts and State Programs

  • Republicans’ proposed Medicaid cuts would hit rural patients hard, By Bram Sable-Smith, June 22, 2017, National Public Radio: “For the hundreds of rural U.S. hospitals struggling to stay in business, health policy decisions made in Washington, D.C., this summer could make survival a lot tougher. Since 2010, at least 79 rural hospitals have closed across the country, and nearly 700 more are at risk of closing. These hospitals serve a largely older, poorer and sicker population than most hospitals, making them particularly vulnerable to changes made to Medicaid funding…”
  • G.O.P. health plan is really a rollback of Medicaid, By Margot Sanger-Katz, June 20, 2017, New York Times: “Tucked inside the Republican bill to replace Obamacare is a plan to impose a radical diet on a 52-year-old program that insures nearly one in five Americans. The bill, of course, would modify changes to the health system brought by the Affordable Care Act. But it would also permanently restructure Medicaid, which covers tens of millions of poor or disabled Americans, including millions who are living in nursing homes with conditions like Alzheimer’s or the aftereffects of a stroke…”
  • Republicans’ Medicaid rollback collides with opioid epidemic, By Ricardo Alonzo-Zaldivar (AP), June 20, 2017, ABC News: “The Republican campaign to roll back Barack Obama’s health care law is colliding with America’s opioid epidemic. Medicaid cutbacks would hit hard in states deeply affected by the addiction crisis and struggling to turn the corner, according to state data and concerned lawmakers in both parties…”
  • How states like Kansas punish the poor for being both too poor and not poor enough, By Max Ehrenfreund, June 19, 2017, Washington Post: “Obamacare was designed to make it easier for poor Americans to buy insurance. In many states, though, the law has left a hole where less needy households can receive benefits, while millions of Americans living in poverty cannot. They are, in effect, too poor to get help…”
  • In expanding Medicaid, Utah wants to make some enrollees work and cap their lifetime coverage, By Alex Stuckey, June 20, 2017, Salt Lake Tribune: “Utah health officials are proposing lifetime limits and work requirements for childless adults who would gain coverage under a Medicaid expansion plan, hoping the changes will help persuade the federal government to approve it…”
  • With Medicaid under the gun, new study highlights program’s successes in Cheshire County, By Ethan DeWitt, June 23, 2017, Keene Sentinel: “Amid fierce national clashes over the future of health care, and a new Republican bill unveiled Thursday, one federal program has proven a particular emotional flash point: Medicaid. Efforts to pare back the program, which provides coverage to low-income adults and children, have drawn alarm from Democrats and some Republican senators representing rural states…”

Medicaid Expansion – Utah, Louisiana

  • State officials send feds Medicaid expansion plan for low-income parents, By Alex Stuckey, February 3, 2107, Salt Lake Tribune: “As Utah officials continue to wait for federal approval of their small-scale Medicaid expansion plan, they hope to expand coverage to some parents.  Tom Hudachko, state Department of Health spokesman, said Friday that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ‘verbally indicated’ to state officials late last year that it would approve that part of the expansion, covering low-income parents with dependent children…”
  • Louisiana’s uninsured rate falls to 12.5 percent; leaders cite Medicaid expansion, By Elizabeth Crisp, February 8, 2017, Baton Rouge Advocate: “Louisiana is one of 10 states that have seen the steepest decreases in the rate of uninsured residents over the past four years, according to survey findings released Wednesday. The 2016 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that Louisiana’s uninsured rate fell to 12.5 percent last year — down from 21.7 percent in 2013.  The survey’s researchers note that all 10 states that saw their uninsured rates drop have expanded Medicaid through the federal Affordable Care Act…”

Intergenerational Poverty – Utah

  • Report: 1/3 of impoverished Utahns spend 1/2 of their income on housing, By Marjorie Cortez, September 29, 2016, Deseret News: ” As the single mother of two young sons and a college student, Isabell Archuleta’s plate is full.  Her life may be hectic, but Archuleta has very specific goals in mind: completing her studies at Salt Lake Community College, then transferring to a university to obtain a degree in elementary education.  She wants to be a first-grade teacher and to provide for her sons, ages 4 and 6, a childhood that is healthier and more economically secure than her own spent in poverty…”
  • Utah kids living in intergenerational poverty could fill 1,611 school buses, By Lee Davidson, September 29, 2016, Salt Lake Tribune: “Isabell Archuleta of Kearns is in the third generation of a family living in poverty. Her sons, Juelz, 4, and Marcelo, 6, are the fourth. But Archuleta is confident she is about to break the cycle for generations to come.  ‘I’ve started to go back to school to become a teacher,’ she said. ‘I think my sons seeing me go to college will make them want to do the same thing.’  She said the Next Generation Kids program of the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS) helps her find solutions on everything from nutrition to child care and preschool. ‘It has given me a little bit more support and someone to talk to.’ And after seeing her example, others in her family have entered college, too. A new state report says that while such success stories are increasing, Utah still has far to go…”

Medicaid Expansion

  • Has Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion reached a tipping point?, By Dan Mangan, January 26, 2016, CNBC: “They like their plans, and they’re likely to keep their plans.  Despite continued Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare, a key component of the law that has given millions of people health coverage — Medicaid expansion — could prove very difficult to undo, experts say. A growing number of states have signed up for that expansion of the government-run program for poor people, or are discussing doing so. Hospitals are becoming accustomed to the money that comes with expansion, and a majority of new enrollees are saying they are happy with their coverage…”
  • Utah lawmakers get creative with Medicaid expansion, By Wendy Leonard, January 24, 2016, Deseret News: “Despite years of discussing the issue without resolution, Utah lawmakers will again take on Medicaid expansion and various plans to implement it for the thousands of Utahns who remain uncovered by health insurance. And, while some lawmakers are taking approaches that have been tried before, others are trying new things — an indication of a potential desire to bring health care benefits closer to Utahns who can’t afford them…”

Intergenerational Poverty – Utah

Modest gains highlight Utah program to break intergenerational poverty, By Christopher Smart, October 1, 2015, Salt Lake Tribune: “Children are the key to breaking the chain of poverty that keeps families in economic distress for one generation after another. Youngsters who are afforded safe environments, good nutrition and early education in preschool and kindergarten are better equipped to learn as they enter elementary school and more likely to graduate high school and pursue advanced training. That is at the crux of what the Utah Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission set out to do four years ago: find solutions to the plague of poverty handed down from parent to child and so on over decades…”

Housing First – Utah

The surprisingly simple way Utah solved chronic homelessness and saved millions, By Terrence McCoy, April 17, 2015, Washington Post: “The story of how Utah solved chronic homelessness begins in 2003, inside a cavernous Las Vegas banquet hall populated by droves of suits. The problem at hand was seemingly intractable. The number of chronic homeless had surged since the early 1970s. And related costs were soaring. A University of Pennsylvania study had just showed New York City was dropping a staggering $40,500 in annual costs on every homeless person with mental problems, who account for many of the chronically homeless. So that day, as officials spit-balled ideas, a social researcher named Sam Tsemberis stood to deliver what he framed as a surprisingly simple, cost-effective method of ending chronic homelessness.  Give homes to the homeless…”

Intergenerational Poverty – Utah

  • ‘I don’t want my daughter to see the struggles I went through’: Ogden program seeks to end Utah’s cycle of poverty, By Christopher Smart, March 31, 2015, Salt Lake Tribune: “Maricela Garcia was born into poverty. But the 26-year-old single mom wants to escape it so that her 3-year-old daughter, Eliahna, will have a better life.  Garcia and her daughter are part of an Ogden-based pilot program called Next Generation Kids that seeks to break the intergenerational-poverty cycle. Thirty families are participating in the program.  ‘We grew up very poor on assistance,’ said the Ogden native. ‘I don’t want my daughter to see the struggles I went through.’  The initiative to end the poverty cycle is the outcome of the Intergenerational Poverty Mitigation Act, passed in 2012. Its sponsor, former state Sen. Stuart Reid, said that by marshaling public and private resources to end poverty, taxpayers would save in reduced welfare and incarceration costs. And it’s the humane thing to do, he added…”
  • State unveils plans to ‘measurably reduce’ rates of intergenerational poverty among Utah children, By Marjorie Cortez, March 31, 2015, Deseret News: “Key state administrators Tuesday unveiled a roadmap intended to ‘measurably reduce’ the number of Utah children remaining in poverty as adults.  The primary goals of ‘Utah’s Plan for a Stronger Future’ are to disrupt cycles of intergenerational poverty and dependence on public assistance. To achieve those ends, the plan establishes four areas of focus: early childhood development, education, health, and family economic stability.

Chronic Homelessness – Utah

Will Utah end chronic homelessness in 2015?, By Christopher Smart, October 18, 2014, Salt Lake Tribune: “When Joseph Hardy and his three siblings were young, his mother took them from his polygamist father and bolted. They spent the next decade on the run — camping in the summers, crashing with friends when they could, and grabbing an inexpensive rental when the money held out. ‘I feel like I grew up in the back seat of a car,’ Hardy says today. At age 15, he began using methamphetamine to dull his grief and anxiety. Drug use and depression have ravaged his health, and he’s spent about 14 years of his life behind bars. But the last time he was arrested, Hardy was offered a new choice: treatment and his own apartment, with support from a caseworker to help him shape a new life…”

Homelessness and Housing First – Utah

  • Utah praised for initiative to end chronic homelessness, By Christopher Smart, October 8, 2014, Salt Lake Tribune: “Utah is making national headlines for a successful initiative to end chronic homelessness — it’s down 72 percent since 2005 — as the 11th Annual Utah Homeless Summit convenes Wednesday in Salt Lake City. The number of chronic homeless — people who have been without housing for more than a year or who have been homeless four times in three years — has dropped in the state from 1,932 in 2005 to 539 this year. But the overall number of homeless during that period has remained at about 13,600. Most of those people will find housing within a 12-month period, according to the ‘2014 Utah Comprehensive Report on Homelessness,’ released Wednesday…”
  • Affordable housing helps prevent, cures homelessness in Utah, new report says, By Marjorie Cortez, October 8, 2014, Deseret News: “Affordable housing is not only a key to preventing homelessness, it’s the cure to chronic homelessness, officials say. But Utah’s needs far outstrip the state’s ability to build affordable housing. Utah needs some 44,000 units of affordable housing statewide to keep pace with demand, according to federal and state estimates. When a segment of Utahns can’t afford housing, they’re at great risk of becoming homeless…”

Intergenerational Poverty – Utah

One-third of Utah kids risk becoming impoverished adults, new report says, By Marjorie Cortez, September 30, 2014, Deseret News: “Utah’s effort to end intergenerational poverty will start with 80 families. Next Generation Kids, a pilot program led by the Utah Department of Workforce Services, is underway in Ogden. State officials also plan to work with children and their families in Kearns and Salt Lake City’s Glendale neighborhood. That’s the result of more than three years of intensive study about intergenerational poverty in Utah that reveals one-third of children in the state are at risk of becoming impoverished adults…”

Social Impact Bonds

Results-based financing for preschool catching on, By Adrienne Lu, March 21, 2014, Stateline: “Six hundred 3- and 4-year-olds are attending preschool in Salt Lake County and Park City, Utah, this year thanks to an innovative financing model that is catching the attention of government officials and lawmakers across the country. Under ‘results-based financing,’ also known as ‘pay-for-success’ or ‘social impact bonds,’ private investors or philanthropists provide the initial funding for social programs that are expected to save taxpayer dollars down the road. If the policy goals are met and the savings materialize (according to third-party evaluators), the investors receive their money back with interest. However, the government doesn’t have to pay out more than it saves…”

State Medicaid Programs

  • NC proposes experimental health networks for Medicaid patients, By Lynn Bonner, February 26, 2014, News and Observer: “State officials rolled out a plan Wednesday for changes in the state Medicaid program that are a huge step away from the managed-care proposal Gov. Pat McCrory and top state Department of Health and Human Services officials pitched last year. The new proposal avoids a fight with doctors, hospitals and other health care providers over the future of the $13 billion government health insurance program that covers about 1.7 million poor children and their parents, elderly people and disabled people…”
  • Gov. Gary Herbert offers ‘Utah solution’ to Medicaid expansion, By Lisa Riley Roche, February 27, 2014, Deseret News: “Gov. Gary Herbert offered his own ‘Utah solution’ to Medicaid expansion Thursday, calling for a new state-run program that would be paid for through a block grant from the federal government. Herbert’s ‘Healthy Utah’ plan would seek a block grant from the federal government to cover about the same number of needy Utahns as accepting the full expansion of Medicaid offered under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. But instead of receiving Medicaid, the estimated 111,000 Utahns earning less than $15,500 a year would each pay about $420 a year toward private insurance and medical expenses…”
  • Medicaid recipients may stay in system even if they don’t qualify, By Meredith Cohn, February 27, 2014, Baltimore Sun: “Maryland must spend as much as $30.5 million more to provide Medicaid coverage to Marylanders because the state’s glitch-riddled health exchange website can’t tell whether they are still eligible. It’s another problem exacerbated by the software that has been causing headaches since the exchange website launched on Oct. 1 for those trying to get into the expanded Medicaid program or buy private insurance with subsidies…”

Intergenerational Poverty – Utah

Report: Intervention needed to break cycle of intergenerational poverty in Utah, By Marjorie Cortez, October 4, 2013, Deseret News: “Utahns considered to be intergenerational welfare recipients receive on average nearly 12 years of public assistance, a figure that will likely increase unless something alters the course, according to a new state report. ‘It is reasonable to expect that without intervention, the average will increase as time passes,’ according to Utah’s second-annual Intergenerational Poverty, Welfare Dependency and the Use of Public Assistance report, which was released Thursday…”

State Medicaid Programs

  • Gov: Utah won’t decide on Medicaid expansion until 2014, By Robert Gehrke and Jennifer Dobner, August 22, 2013, Salt Lake Tribune: “Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday he will not make a decision until next year about whether to expand Medicaid to cover more of the state’s uninsured. Under the Affordable Care Act, most Americans must get health insurance by 2014 or face a tax penalty. The law gives states the option of expanding eligibility for their Medicaid programs to cover more low-income residents…”
  • Snyder picking up push for Medicaid expansion, critics offering ‘hot air’ balloon rides ahead of vote, By Jonathan Oosting, August 21, 2013, MLive: “Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is beginning his final push for Medicaid reform and expansion ahead of an expected Senate vote next week…”
  • Republican legislator proposes new cuts to Medicaid, By Catherine Candisky, August 23, 2013, Columbus Dispatch: “Thousands of poor pregnant women, parents and disabled workers would lose tax-funded health coverage under a Cincinnati-area Republican’s proposal to slash Medicaid eligibility…”

State Medicaid Programs – Utah, West Virginia

  • Fewer Utah doctors willing to care for Medicaid patients, By Jennifer Dobner, July 17, 2013, Salt Lake Tribune: “The number of Utah medical providers willing to treat Medicaid patients has been dropping since 2008 — even as the number of Utahns on the public health program has climbed, according to new data from state analysts. And with Utah’s Medicaid rolls expected to grow in 2014 — when penalties in the Affordable Care Act spur eligible Utahns to apply — even more patients may be relying on the dwindling number of providers…”
  • Delays threaten W.Va. Medicaid expansion, By Dave Boucher, July 16, 2013, Charleston Daily Mail: “Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin cast further doubt Monday on the prospect of West Virginia meeting the federal deadline for expanding its Medicaid program coverage under the Affordable Care Act. In a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Tomblin asked a series of questions he believes are crucial to the state meeting the deadline. He blamed federal delays for the state’s problems with rolling out its new Medicaid system and new insurance exchange…”

Medicaid and Children’s Dental Care – Utah

Will privatizing Medicaid’s dental program hurt Utah kids?, By Jennifer Dobner, July 10, 2013, Salt Lake Tribune: “Laura Privett is worried about the future of her children’s very expensive mouths. Her eldest, 16-year-old Wade, got his first filling before he turned 4. Her youngest, 6-year-old Kayden, was born with a partial cleft lip and had his first dental x-rays at five days old. He’s already had cranial facial surgery, six fillings and six caps. His jaw is so overcrowded with aching teeth that sometimes he can’t eat. ‘If it wasn’t for Medicaid, my kids would not have access to those dental services,’ the Kearns mother said. The care the Privetts rely on may change under a state plan to hire private managed care organizations to run the Medicaid dental program. Utah pediatric dentists fear the move will mean less access to care for children and smaller payments for dentists…”

Kids Count Report – Utah

  • Kids, poverty data released Thursday at Salt Lake City summit, By Cathy Mckitrick, April 25, 2013, Salt Lake Tribune: “According to the KIDS COUNT annual data release, 377,396 Utahns lived below the federal poverty level in 2011 and 140,772 were youth under the age of 18. The nonprofit organization Voices for Utah Children released 25 indicators of child well-being Thursday in conjunction with Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker’s Carpe Datum Summit highlighting new neighborhood details provided by the University of Utah…”
  • Utah’s child poverty rate rising, 2013 KIDS COUNT report says, By Marjorie Cortez, April 26, 2013, Deseret News: “Child poverty is on the rise in Utah, a trend child advocates say drives down many other measures of child well-being. According to the latest KIDS COUNT report, nearly 378,000 Utahns lived below the federal poverty level in 2011, with more than 140,000 of them children under age 18…”

USDA Rural Poverty Initiative – Utah

StrikeForce aims to help reduce rural poverty in Utah, By Whitney Evans, April 3, 2013, Deseret News: “Gilbert Harris, 70, and his wife manually watered their 10 acres of alfalfa and Native American corn for most of his farming career. It took them five days every two weeks. Through funding provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Harris installed gated irrigation a little more than five years ago and reduced the time he spent watering by one to two days. ‘All these people are here to help you, but you have to put it together. We found out that is the secret,’ Harris said in a video created by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Utah is one of 10 states selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to participate in the StrikeForce initiative, created in an effort to boost economic development and job creation…”