Should Wyoming expand Medicaid?

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -- A group of panelists sat on a stage at Little America to answer questions about Medicaid expansion on January 30, 2020. The panelists included healthcare workers, state representatives, and state senators.

According to enrollment and cost projections from the Wyoming Department of Health, the costs for expanding Medicaid in Wyoming could reach $153 million for the first biennium. The expansion would cover non-disabled childless adults under 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. In the report, the Department of Health recommends $18 million of the Medicaid costs be paid with state funds. The other $135 million, it recommends, be paid with federal funds.

One panelist, Dr. John Mansell, said that Medicaid doesn't cover the entire cost of care. He said, "If you see someone about to step in front of a car, you would keep them from getting run over. My concern, as a citizen who wants to see better healthcare access, and for the state of Wyoming to succeed, I feel like I need to grab the arm of the legislature and say you're about to step in front of a car."

Those who are in favor of expanding Medicaid point out that there could be a positive economic impact in communities. Along with that, they say there would be a healthier workforce.

Wyoming lawmakers will need to consider the issue during the 2020 Budget Session. House Bill No. HB 0075 addresses Medicaid expansion. For more information on the bill, visit wyoleg.gov.