Wyomingites rally for expansion at Medicaid hearing

Jan 9, 2014

A legislative committee was still trying to determine Thursday evening if it will recommend passage of a bill that will either expand Medicaid services in the state or use Federal Medicaid dollars to provide affordable insurance to low income people in the state. Senator Charles Scott says they need a bill that will get two-thirds support from both the committee and the legislature, and the votes just aren’t there. Cheyenne Representative Lee Filer said he’s surprised by the political opposition, because he mostly hears from supporters.

“I hear more people wanting Medicaid expansion than opposing it,” Filer said. “I’ll bet yesterday I had over 90 emails from people all over the state saying please expand Medicaid, please expand Medicaid, and they give reasons why and so emails are pretty lengthy and tell the whole story about a life and why it would help them, but I haven’t heard much opposition”

A number of Wyoming citizens rallied for Medicaid expansion near the State Capitol building on Thursday. Kerry Drake of Casper told the committee that they need help.  Drake would qualify for Medicaid if it is expanded.

“Without it I am caught in the same Medicaid gap that is affecting 5 million other Americans in 25 states that apparently feel that it’s more important to refuse the federal funds and make Obamacare fail, then it is to see us get affordable health care,” Drake said.

House Health and Labor Chairwoman Elaine Harvey says many doctors don’t want to treat patients with Medicaid, so they need to develop a program that looks more like traditional insurance.