Utah filmmaker tapped to document Medicaid coverage gap in other states

- SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (ABC 4 Utah) – A local film maker who is putting a face to the Medicaid gap crisis is extending his work beyond the borders of Utah.

It's an emergency situation for about 57,000 people in our state.

Not only do they not have health insurance, they can't get it.

"There are a lot of nights I just can't sleep about this," said Film Maker, Paul Gibbs.

The coverage gap was created when the Supreme Court ruled mandatory Medicaid expansion was unconstitutional, leaving the decision to each state.

Action has been split down the middle.

"There's 26 states and the District of Columbia who have expanded Medicaid and there's the other half of America, another 24 states that are either not expanding or like Utah considering alternative solutions," said Jason Stevenson with Utah Health Policy Project.

That alternative solution is the governor's Healthy Utah Plan.

He's still working on federal approval and then he'll have to convince lawmakers at home to sign off.

Gibbs is providing a personal perspective to the debate.

"The majority of these people who need help are just people who are working hard and just don't have the means to get the health care that they need,” said Gibbs.

His film, Entitled to Life has been shown to lawmakers at the Capitol, had a public showing in Salt Lake City and is available online.

He was awarded a $3500 grant to document the gap in North Carolina and Florida, where he hopes to make a similar impact with a much larger group.

About 318,000 people fall into the gap in North Carolina, in Florida it’s about 763,000.

"It's about human lives that are on the line," said Gibbs.

That's why he isn't done in Utah just yet either.

He's juggling the projects back east with Entitled to Life 2, featuring the plight of even more uncovered Utahns.

"We're going to keep doing this until Utah has accepted federal funding," said Gibbs.

He leaves for North Carolina next week.

Gibbs is trying to raise additional funds to cover the costs.

Click here to contribute.

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