Utah senator, governor slammed over Medicaid

Utah Medicaid advocates have penned a scathing column in The Salt Lake Tribune slamming Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Republican Gov. Gary Herbert following Thursday's field hearing on Medicaid.

The column takes the two to task for "partisan attacks," "political spin" and "election year posturing." The field hearing focused on the program's shortcomings, particularly its state and federal cost, widespread fraud and poorer outcomes than under private insurance. 

"The more that one looks at this program, the more clear it is that this program cries out for fundamental reform," Hatch said.

The column points out that Utah's Medicaid program covered 60,000 more people in 2010 than three years earlier, for 16 percent less.

"Covering more people with less money is called efficiency — doing more with less — and it's exactly what politicians say they want," wrote Lincoln Nehring, senior health policy analyst for Voices for Utah Children. "Let's have an honest conversation that acknowledges the costs of covering uninsured Utahans through Medicaid and CHIP [Children's Health Insurance Program], but one that also recognizes the value they deliver every day for our state and the families who live here."