The legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee has rejected a request by Governor Matt Mead to include Medicaid Expansion in the state budget.
Casper Republican Representative Tim Stubson says expanding Medicaid in the budget would remove some cost containment provisions that lawmakers included in previous legislation. He noted a study that said expansion would pull 5-thousand people out of the state’s insurance market.
“We know we have a very fragile insurance market in the state, we’ve seen proof of that in the last few months with an insurance company going into receivership and I have a real fear of what pulling that number of people out of the private market in such a small state would have.”
But Laramie Democrat Cathy Connolly says most people who would benefit can’t afford insurance.
“We had a 110 thousand new hires last year, only 30% of them had health care benefits. The wages were less than $10 in general, these are the folks that potentially could move to Medicaid expansion. It’s the 45 year old with diabetes.”
The state had estimated that 20-thousand people would benefit under Medicaid expansion. Supporters of Medicaid Expansion call the committee's action short sighted.
For the issue to pass it will now require the full legislature to override the appropriations committee or the legislature would need two-thirds support to introduce separate legislation.