A bill that could eventually authorize the expansion of the Medicaid program in Wyoming has been filed for the upcoming 2020 session fo the Wyoming Legislature.

You can read the bill here.

House Bill 75 would authorize that:

''As directed by the governor, the insurance commissioner of this state and the director of the department of health shall collaborate together and work with the centers for medicare and medicaid services of the United States department of health to explore options for the expansion of medicaid eligibility as authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, P.L. 111‑148 or any other federal law that replaces that act before the repeal of this section."

The bill would also order that before expanding Medicaid in Wyoming:

''the governor shall provide notice to the legislature in writing. The governor also shall provide a report to the joint labor, health and social services interim committee and the joint appropriations committee detailing the reasons for the expansion, the means for having the expansion approved, whether any funding for the expansion will be necessary and the reasons that the expansion is viable and fiscally advantageous for Wyoming. The notice and reports shall be submitted to the legislature in sufficient time to allow the legislature adequate notice to call a special session for consideration of the expansion before the effective date of any obligations binding on the state. No further expansion of eligibility for medicaid shall occur without prior approval from the legislature.''

Medicaid has long been a contentious issue in Wyoming. Supporters of expansion say it would provide health coverage to thousands of Wyoming residents who currently don't have health insurance, and that it would help Wyoming hospitals by relieving some of the cost of providing medical services to people without insurance. Some supporters of Medicaid expansion have put the figure for uncompensated care provided by Wyoming hospitals at $100,000 annually.

Some expansion opponents have questioned that figure, however.

Supporters also say the expansion would benefit the state economy by bringing money in since the federal government would initially pay for 90 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion.

But opponents say it would still cost Wyoming money because the state would be on the hook for the remaining 10 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion. They also argue that in states that have expanded Medicaid, the number of people applying for coverage has far exceeded projections and cost those states a lot of money.

Some opponents also argue that expanding Medicaid is a betrayal of the original purpose of the Medicaid program. Many opponents also say that no matter what anyone says, the federal government can't be trusted to continue to pay for the bulk of the cost of expansion.



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