Wyoming: (sigh) 9th time NOT the charm: Medicaid expansion dies yet again


Back in December, the state with the smallest population in the country, Wyoming, looked like it might finally carry the ACA Medicaid expansion football into the end zone:

‘Let’s just get this done’: Wyoming Legislature to consider Medicaid expansion again in 2023

Medicaid expansion will be up for debate once again when the Wyoming Legislature convenes for its 67th session in January.

The legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee voted to advance the Medical Treatment Opportunity Act to the legislative session during a meeting this month.

It’s the same bill the legislature considered during the 2022 session, state staffers said.

The proposed legislation would allow Medicaid expansion to occur in Wyoming as long as the federal contribution to the program remains at 90 percent or higher.

...the American Rescue Plan Act offers an incentive for Medicaid expansion that would bring in an extra $54 million.

The $54 million incentive referenced was a straight-out bribe included in the American Rescue Plan in 2021 which simply dumped millions (or even billions, in the case of Florida & Texas) of dollars on Medicaid expansion holdout states just to entice them to finally, finally do what they should have done a decade ago.

...The WDH estimates that Medicaid expansion would allow about 19,000 additional Wyoming residents to be eligible for health insurance through the federal program.

...[WY GOP Sen. Cale] Case formerly opposed Medicaid expansion, but he said his perspective has evolved over the years, and now he supports the move, joining the ranks of the majority of Wyoming medical professionals, employers, business owners, residents and Republicans.

“Let’s just get this done,” Case said. “I’m ready.”

Wyoming Sen. Wendy Schuler, R-Evanston, said the last Medicaid expansion poll she looked at showed “about 70 percent of Wyomingites support this.”

Well, apparently 70% support still wasn't enough for beet-red Wyoming, because Lucy yanked away the football yet again:

Bills to expand the Medicaid program, send Wyoming money to help pay for a border wall and a resolution calling for phasing out electric cars in the state by 2035 are all dead for this session of the Wyoming Legislature after failing to win approval in time for a legislative deadline.

Yesterday was the deadline for bills to be approved by the Committee of the Whole for the 2023 Legislative session.

Among the items that died after missing that deadline on Monday were the following:

House Bill 80, Medicaid Expansion. The latest effort to expand the Medicaid Program under the federal Affordable Care Act. Similar proposals over the past decade have repeatedly been defeated in what has become an annual topic considered by state lawmakers. Supporters argue that Wyoming is paying into the program anyway  and that the proposal would extend insurance coverage to the state's working poor. Some supporters also argue that it would help hospitals in the state who currently are on the hook for caring for people without insurance. Opponents have said the federal government can't be trusted to continue picking up 90 percent of the cost and that it will end up costing the state a lot of money in the long run. Some also argue that expansion violates the original purpose of the Medicaid program.

While Medicaid Expansion is dead for another session, a bill that would extend Medicaid coverage for low-income postpartum mothers  for a year remains alive for now.. House Bill 4 was approved in a Monday House vote by the Committee of the Whole.

I guess the postpartum coverage extension bill is a consolidation prize...important for those it applies to, of course, but not much of a silver lining otherwise.

See you next year, I guess...