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.  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. 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.  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

Updated on December 1, 2020

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

Article 4 (Health) Committee Members

               Michael Stapley

               Bob Huefner

               Michael Deily

               Wu Xu

               Rex Olsen