Appropriations Committee considers merits, drawbacks, uncertainties of Medicaid expansion

Dec 12, 2012

Members of the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee are worried that if they don’t decide to expand Medicaid services in the Wyoming, that there could be negative repercussions for the state and citizens. 

The committee has asked the Wyoming Department of Health to further study all sides of a possible expansion.   Committee members were told that an expansion would likely save the state several million dollars. 

But Gillette Senator Michael Von Flatern says the fear is that the federal government would not fund the program like it promised.  He says if there is an actual savings, it might be something the state b should do.  But he says they need more answers.

“We have to see the downside whether we go forward or the downside whether we say no we are not expanding,” Von Flatern says. “What does it really cost either way and then we go on from there.”

But lawmakers also fear potential repercussions under the Affordable Care Act, if the state does not expand Medicaid.   They have asked for more information on the issue.  

Incoming Senate Appropriations Chairman Eli Bebout says he is trying to keep an open mind.

“Me being an engineer you like it black and white and it’s not black and white.  It’s an area where you take the best information you have and do what’s right for Wyoming,” says Bebout. “And that’s the challenge.

The Joint Health committee will further discuss the issue on Thursday.