Excerpts from the Salt Lake Tribune:
As expected, state lawmakers Wednesday rejected a proposed constitutional amendment intended to provide access to affordable health care for all Utahns.
"Proper health care is essential to the pursuit of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the citizenry," McCoy said. "Some of us don't live quite as well as we should. But at least we should be coming to the conclusion that we need to create a system where people have access to affordable, medically necessary care, in spite of themselves."
A Salt Lake Tribune poll in January found that 67 percent of Utahns supported amending the Utah Constitution to declare affordable, accessible health care a basic right.
But Kelly Atkinson, Director of the Utah Health Insurance Association, argued that the amendment would put the state on the hook for a massive bill. "Should that be the public policy of the state?" Atkinson asked. "Is health care a right? We don't think so." Health care might be expensive, Atkinson said, but those uninsured Utahns who need treatment can get it in emergency rooms.
Some members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee also balked at the prospect of providing health care for Utahns who don't take care of themselves - including smokers and the obese.
The bill failed in a vote along party lines.
Despite that defeat, low-income advocates still hope legislators will put some of the state's $1.6 billion surplus toward health care for poor Utahns. They offered a pumpkin pie to House Speaker Greg Curtis with just a sliver cut out - representative of funding for health care programs. "If he and the governor can partner to save soccer, they can put away some money for health care,"
67% of Utahns favor access to health care for all, but our politicians are not listening to us. Who are they listening to? Apparently to Kelly Atkinson, director of the Utah Health INSURANCE Association. I wonder why they are against affordable health care for all? What does it cost taxpayers for all of the uninsured Utahns to get care at emergency rooms? What a joke.
I find it amusing (in a sad, pathetic way) that the same newspaper has an article about a bill that would "force all Utahns to purchase catastrophic health insurance for themselves and dependents - policies tied to huge deductibles and health savings accounts - or something better." The bill was pitched as a "way to stop the uninsured from freeloading and forcing everyone else to pay their health costs."
After all, all those uninsured Utahns are uninsured because they aren't responsible.