Former Wyoming lawmaker urges the Governor to expand Medicaid

Sep 13, 2012

A former State Representative is urging Governor Matt Mead to support the expansion of Medicaid, because he believes it could save money in the long run.  

Pete Jorgensen is a Democrat from Jackson who used to serve on the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee.   Jorgensen says there is no doubt that expanding Medicaid will increase costs to the state in the short term.  But when you consider that the federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs initially and 90 percent of the costs after that, it’s too good of a deal for the state to pass up.

“To me…expansion of Medicaid which is a program we have a part in, together with the federal government, to cover more of those under or uninsured people, is a logical thing to do.  Particularly in the initiation of it, we don’t pay anything.  The feds pay 100% of it.  That’s a hell of a deal.”

Jorgensen says that although Wyoming will have to pay more than it currently does into Medicaid, it will be worth it in the long run. 

“I believe that’s a hit that we should be able to accommodate and accept and in fact, appreciate. 

Jorgensen says it should also lead to long term savings for the state as people using Medicaid services become healthier. He says it will also reduce the amount of cost shifting that occurs, because those without health insurance frequently use the emergency room. 

Governor Mead says he continues to weigh the pros and cons of expanding Medicaid and remains undecided.