Wyoming & Tennessee: Alternate Medicaid Expansion Plans Go Kaput

Well, score one for the Koch brothers:

In December, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, got the deal he wanted from the Obama administration: Tennessee would accept more than $1 billion in federal funding to expand Medicaid, as allowed for in the Affordable Care Act, but Obama aides would allow Haslam to essentially write staunchly conservative ideas into the program's rules for the state. He dubbed the reformed Medicaid program "Insure Tennessee."

But the state's chapter of Americans for Prosperity, the national conservative group whose foundation is chaired by controversial billionaire David Koch, argued Haslam was just trying to trick conservatives into implementing Obamacare in their state by giving it a new name. AFP campaigned aggressively Haslam's plans for the next six weeks, even running radio ads blasting GOP state legislators who said they might vote for it.

On Wednesday, Haslam's bill died in a committee of the Tennessee state senate. The vote was one of the clearest illustrations of the increasing power of AFP and other conservative groups funded in part by the Koch brothers.

OK, two things: First, Koch Brothers: F*ck you. Second, to theTennessee state legislature: YES, "Insure Tennessee" would indeed have been "Obamacare under a different name". A modified version, yes; a more complicated, stingier version, sure...but yes, it would have been allowed for and funded for via the ACA. No one was trying to "trick" you about it. I guess I have to at least give you some credit for at least acknowledging this rather obvious fact, unlike the people of Kentucky who can't seem to ge it through their skulls that "kynect" is "the Affordable Care Act" is "Obamacare".

Not that this honesty on their part will do any good for the 200,000 Tennesseeans who will continue to be screwed over by your pettiness.

Meanwhile, in Wyoming:

Proposals to expand Medicaid in Wyoming are effectively dead after senators voted down Senate File 129 and a House committee pulled its expansion plan from consideration Friday.

The Senate voted 19-11 against expanding health care coverage to more than 17,600 uninsured Wyomingites. Proposals to expand were met on the Senate floor with stiff opposition to federal health care policy.

Sen. Michael Von Flatern, R-Gillette, had sponsored the SHARE plan. Ideology factored heavily in Friday's vote, he said. 

He said future Medicaid fights could be a bit tougher.

The Wyoming article doesn't specify whether the Koch Bros' creepy hands were directly involved, but there certainly was a whole lot of stupid going on:

Sen. Charles Scott, R-Casper, said the proposed expansion plan, based on the Wyoming Department of Health's SHARE plan, does not provide enough incentive for program participants to curb wasteful spending.

...Scott warned legislators not to trust the federal government.

"You know the federal government is going to back off of its promise to pay 90 percent," he said. "You know that because when you look at their finances, they’re in bad trouble across the United States."

Um...I'm fairly certain that the 90% payment rate after the first few years isn't a "promise" by the federal government; they're legally bound to do so, as far as I know. Not to mention, "bad trouble" is exactly the reason why your staunch Republican Governor, Matt mead, was pushing for the modified expansion program in the first place...to help Wyoming get a handle on healthcare costs. In addition, I'm fairly certain that you could easily include a provision in the law which stipulates that it shuts down the moment that the feds renege on their portion of the funding, right? After all, Arkansas' "private option" program has to be renewed by vote every year.

Anyway, 2 of the most likely candidates for joining the Medicaid expanion pool have just pulled the plug on it for now.