The State Senate has soundly defeated a bill that would have led to the state expanding Medicaid Services for nearly 30 thousand more Wyoming residents. States can opt to expand the services under the Affordable Care Act and the federal government will pay the total cost for the first 36 months of the expansion starting in 2014. Senator John Schiffer of Kaycee says Medicaid costs have hurt the state, but if the state expands, it means the federal government will pay for services that Wyoming currently pays for. He says that is a good deal.
“And we can save $47.4 million dollars and insure an additional 30 thousand people in this state. It seems to me it makes very good sense to opt into this program,” says Schiffer.
But Senate Health Committee Chairman Charles Scott says it is unclear if the federal government will actually have the money to fully pay for the expansion.
“Anybody who supports this bill is committing themselves to vote for a tax increase, probably a sales tax, but that’s just my guess. But a tax increase when the federal government reneges,” says Scott.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Eli Bebout urged the Senate to wait until the state is sure it wants to implement the program.