Supporters Ask For Medicaid Expansion

Jan 19, 2015

Members of the public wait to testify on Medicaid expansion.
Credit Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Media

Business leaders, health care providers, and members of the Wind River Reservation all urged a legislative committee to approve some form of Medicaid Expansion during a hearing today (Monday).  

The Senate Labor, Health, and Social Services Committee is considering a bill that would provide health care services to some 18-thousand people who currently cannot afford health insurance. If Wyoming’s plan is approved by the federal government, 100-percent of it would initially be paid for with federal money. 

Dale Steenbergen of the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce told the committee that Wyoming is currently wasting its share of tax dollars.              

“We’d like to reclaim some of Wyoming’s money that we’re sending to California and New York right now and bring that back home. Get this Medicaid Expansion thing done and strengthen our ability to have health care in our communities.”

Eric Boley with the Wyoming Hospital Association says that Medicaid Expansion would address up to 110 million dollars in uncompensated care.

“There are risks to our hospitals right now, 12 of our 16 critical access hospitals in the stae lose money on an annual basis and without tax revenue they wouldn’t even be in existence.”

Boley says without Medicaid expansion some of those hospitals could disappear. Several young members of the Wind River Reservation testified that Medicaid expansion could provide necessary preventive care that would keep their age group alive. 

The Committee bill will provide participants with a personal health and wellness account to purchase health care. The committee will debate the bill at a later date.