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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Sorenson and IHC

By John Valentine
President of the Utah Senate

Earlier today we joined the Governor and representatives from the House in an announcement re: Medicaid Dental.

It turns out that the anonymous donor who pledged one million dollars is Jim Sorenson. Intermountain Healthcare also stepped forward with an additional million, bringing the total donated monies to $2.0 Million. We sincerely appreciate their generosity, compassion and volunteer spirit.

This is not the perfect solution, but it is groundbreaking. We are aware of no other state in which the public has contributed in this way.

This funding is not a full restoration of Adult Medicaid Dental but will provide emergency care for the blind, disabled and aged. This is a temporary fix. It will buy some time for the Medicaid Task Force to complete a comprehensive review of the issues and complexities related to the Utah’s Medicaid program.

It took some turbulence and creativity to get to this point, but I’m glad we’re here.

However . . . If you think this was turbulent, wait until next year.

And the year after.

And the year after that.

This recent controversy is just the first wave in a storm that is coming.

The Federal Government will continue to slash Medicaid funding. The State of Utah will continue to have a balanced budget. The Governor and the Legislature will be forced to prioritize and make some very difficult choices.

We’ll survive the storm, like we always do, but we need to be smart, compassionate and disciplined to balance competing priorities and meet state needs.

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