Washington, DCToday, Representative John Curtis (R-UT), joined by his colleagues Reps. Rob Bishop (R-UT) and  Chris Stewart (R-UT), sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services leadership offering support for the agency’s Health Adult Opportunity proposal. The federal agency announced the proposal last week, which gives states the ability to customize their Medicaid programs based off the needs of their citizens.

“In Utah, we take the responsibility to provide for ourselves and for our families seriously. We also understand the importance of showing compassion, and giving back to those in need,” said Curtis. “This achieves both of these objectives and I am happy to see the agency truly putting energy into delivering high-quality of care.”

“This proposal grants Utah the flexibility to customize care for our most vulnerable citizens. It is also a step in the right direction of containing ballooning health care costs,” said Bishop. “I appreciate the agency’s continued commitment in providing states the ability to tailor programs that meet their unique needs.”

“Utah has always been a leader in finding innovative ways to provide high-quality healthcare to its citizens that are most vulnerable,” said Stewart. “Healthcare needs are dynamic and constantly changing, so it’s encouraging to see the federal government recognizing the need for flexibility. This policy is about compassion and sustainability, and will ultimately allow states to focus resources towards those who need help the most.” 

Background

Medicaid is a federal and state safety net program designed to offer wrap-around health care services for individuals or families with limited resources. These populations include seniors, individuals with cognitive or physical disabilities, or those living in severe poverty.

The 2010 Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act (ACA) gave states the ability to apply for waivers to expand their Medicaid programs, which permitted able-bodied adults and non-US citizens to become eligible to receive services under the health care program. Now, the federal government is responsible for financing most of these expanded programs, which consequentially divert precious dollars from other programs that help struggling individuals, create significant delays in care driven by an increased demand for services, and lead to higher health care costs in private insurance markets.

The proposal is a positive step to help control unsustainable spending and places the focus back on delivering high-quality health care for our sickest patients. This change would also lead to more Americans receiving insurance through private markets and help to drive down premiums for the millions of hard-working American families enrolled in the private health care exchanges. Most importantly, the policy protects qualified Medicaid recipients by requiring states to continue offering essential health benefits that serve as the bedrock of the program.

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