To access a pdf version of the full report click here: Health

2020 Health Committee Report

Introduction and Summary of Major Positions

Utah is one of the five healthiest states in the nation and first for individual healthy behaviors.[i]  Recent Medicaid expansion provided financial access to medical care for an estimated 125,000 individuals. Nevertheless, opportunity for improvement remains. National polls document that health is a major concern to Americans.[ii] According to a recent Utah Foundation poll, health care (costs and accessibility) remains the top issue in Utah, and the coronavirus is tightly linked to each of the top five issues identified.[iii]  Our positions on Utahns’ health and well-being include the following, all of which will be described more fully in the subsequent pages:

  • Strengthening public health. Specific steps should be taken to strengthen the vision, role, and capacity of public health in the State of Utah.
  • Learning from the state’s response. An independent review of the State’s response to COVID-19 should determine what was done well and what improvements could have been made, including recommendations for better management of future pandemics.
  • Supporting Medicaid expansion. Utah should maintain Medicaid coverage for adults up to 138% of the federal poverty level and withdraw the waivers that create barriers to coverage.
  • Improving emotional well-being. A thorough study should be completed to improve understanding of the causes of Utah’s high suicide and depression rates and then develop a plan for improvement, including access to quality prevention and treatment resources.
  • Increasing immunization levels. The Department of Health should develop a plan to increase immunization levels and to optimize the use of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Improving infant mortality. The Department of Health should work closely with physicians to develop a plan to reduce infant mortality in the State of Utah.
  • Determinants of health. State efforts to improve health should include reducing poverty, improving education, keeping people safe, and improving the quality of our environment.
  • Guidelines for future health initiatives:
    • Equity and Justice for all
    • Optimization of financial resources
    • Significant expansion of financial access
    • Stabilization of health care financing
    • Alignment of incentives that encourage appropriate behavior
    • Administrative simplification
    • Prevention and preparedness
    • Uniform distribution of risk sharing
    • Subsidies for the financially disadvantaged

End Notes:

[i] “America’s Health Rankings: 2018 Annual Report,” United Health Foundation, accessed September 11, 2020,

[ii] Eric C. Schneider, “Health Care as an Ongoing Policy Project,” N Engl J Med (2020) 383, 405-408, accessed September 11, 2020,

[iii] “Utah Priorities 2020–What’s on Utah’s Mind: Voter Issues and Concerns in 2020,” Utah Foundation, accessed September 11, 2020,

Updated on December 1, 2020

Article 4 (Health) Committee Members

               Michael Stapley

               Bob Huefner

               Michael Deily

               Wu Xu

               Rex Olsen