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Medicaid expansion back on the table in 2023

State Senator Cale Case of Lander speaks in front of the State Capitol, behind two banners. One banner reads "Wyoming id dying for Med Expansion." The other features a picture of an umbrella and reads "Are you covered? Fix our broken Healthcare!"
Jeff Victor
State Senator Cale Case of Lander speaks in front of the State Capitol in 2022. Medicaid expansion failed that year, but is back on the table this year.

Medicaid expansion has become a perennial issue in Wyoming. But advocates are hoping that this year is the last legislative session they’ll have to push for a bill that expands Medicaid.

Currently, there are at least 19,000 people in Wyoming who make too much money to qualify for traditional Medicaid but don't make enough to afford their own insurance or to qualify for the tax credits that make insurance more affordable. These residents fall into what is known as the "Medicaid gap" and often go uninsured — a state of affairs that can tax healthcare systems and put personal and financial strain on the individuals and their families.

Wyoming is the only state in the Mountain West that has yet to expand Medicaid.

Jan Cartwright, a volunteer with the organization Healthy Wyoming, rallied with her allies in front of the state capitol on the first day of the session. She said everyone deserves healthcare.

"There are still tens of thousands of people who cannot get insurance — either because their jobs don't offer it or because they can't afford it," she said.

A similar Medicaid expansion bill failed last year during the budget session. But it's easier to pass bills during a general session, like this year, so expansion advocates like Cartwright are hopeful.

She's also hoping expansion still has majority support following the 2022 election.

"The thing that we're up against this year is that there are so many new legislators," Cartwright said.

She added that she and others spent the interim making their case to Wyoming's newest legislators. The Medicaid expansion bill has been assigned to the House Revenue Committee.

Jeff is a part-time reporter for Wyoming Public Media, as well as the owner and editor of the Laramie Reporter, a free online news source providing in-depth and investigative coverage of local events and trends.
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