Wyoming Senate takes on Medicaid overhaul

Jan 22, 2013

The State Senate has begun overhauling the Wyoming Medicaid program. 

The bill attempts to slow down rising costs of the program through a variety of reforms that would both cap payments and try to put less critical clients into lower cost programs. 

Senate Labor and Health Committee Chairman Charles Scott says savings could range between $30 million and $113 million, depending on which reforms the federal government allows the state to go forward with.

“Medicaid is an extraordinarily high cost program for comparable individuals,” Scott says. “So there is quite a bit of room to reduce the cost to the Medicaid program and still provide a quality, and perhaps an improved, program of services.”

Evanston Senator Paul Barnard worries that the reforms will end up taking health care away from those who need it.

“This bill is a game changer,” Barnard says. “This changes completely the way the services are given to these people.  This gives us the opportunity to do new things, but just because you do something new does not mean it’s gonna be better.  So we need to watch this bill very carefully.”

Rock Springs Democrat Bernadine Craft says the goal is to make positive reforms, by making sure that people get the services they need. 

The bill will be debated two more times.