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Tuesday AM headlines: Utahns lose Medicaid coverage, temple cornerstone ceremony ends

 A person typing on a laptop with a stethoscope lying next to it.
National Cancer Institute

Thousands of Utahns losing Medicaid coverage during eligibility checks

Thousands of Utahns have lost their Medicaid coverage, some due to purely administrative reasons.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, states were prohibited from ending people’s Medicaid coverage. Since President Biden declared the public health emergency over in May, states are now required to check eligibility again.

Beneficiaries are mailed forms to confirm their identity, personal information, income and household size, which must be filled out within 30 days. On top of normal eligibility issues like making too much money or getting healthcare through an employer, technical issues like missing the deadline could mean a loss of coverage.

About 50% of the cases processed by Utah so far have been dropped by Medicaid — over 23,000 beneficiaries of 41,000 due for renewal. Nationwide, 1.4 million people in the U.S. have lost coverage, with the primary cause being “procedural reasons” like a failure to return the form, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Though the process is required by the federal government, the Biden administration has urged states to slow down on the purge.

LDS temple cornerstone ceremonies discontinued

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints announced the end of their temple cornerstone ceremonies. The ceremony involves placing the cornerstone of a new temple with singing, sermons, and prayers, and has been celebrated since the church’s first temple was dedicated in Independence, Missouri in 1831.

The First Presidency of the church said in a statement that construction techniques have advanced to the point where cornerstones aren’t included in larger buildings, and thus they won’t be doing the ceremonies anymore. This change is effective immediately.

According to the church, several temple cornerstones have been hollowed out to include temple-related artifacts and documents. It’s unclear if this tradition will continue.

Duck is a general reporter and weekend announcer at UPR, and is studying broadcast journalism and disability studies at USU. They grew up in northern Colorado before moving to Logan in 2018, so the Rocky Mountain life is all they know. Free time is generally spent with their dog, Monty, listening to podcasts, reading or wishing they could be outside more.