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Wyoming Democratic Party leaders have criticized Governor Matt Mead for opposing a full Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. There are over 17,000 low-income adults in the state and State Democratic Party Chairman Pete Gosar says it's not right to oppose the expansion, since Mead isn’t proposing another option.

At a press conference last week, Mead said that on that count, Gosar is right.

Democrats push for Medicaid expansion

Dec 9, 2013

Two Democratic members of the legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee criticized Governor Mead’s decision not to expand Medicaid Services. 

At today’s/Monday’s meeting, Senator John Hastert said Mead’s dislike of the Affordable Care Act has nothing to do with expanding Medicaid and helping Wyoming’s poor get insurance. 

Representative Ken Esquibel noted that despite concerns with the A-C-A, other states are having great success with Medicaid expansion.  He urged Mead to keep an open mind and review those successes.

Despite the supposedly high-tech new health insurance marketplaces, it turns out the best way to sign up is in person.

Enroll Wyoming is trying to help people do that. Dialing 2-1-1 will get you to a referral line with information about where to enroll. 

But if you’re calling to try and get help navigating the federal website, you’re out of luck, according to Sara Loken, who works for 2-1-1.

University of Wyoming

As the federal government shutdown continues, former U-S Senator Al Simpson says the Republicans are wasting their time trying delaying or dismantling the Affordable Care Act  -- also known as Obamacare.   

The former Wyoming G-O-P Senator calls the strategy bizarre.

okpolicy.org

To comply with the Affordable Care Act, Wyoming lawmakers still have to determine whether they want to provide more health insurance to people who cannot afford it, and what such a plan would look like. 
 

The legislature soundly defeated a proposal to expand the current Medicaid program, so the Wyoming Department of Health has pitched a new proposal where people could purchase a scaled-down version of Medicaid Insurance. 
 

Department Director Tom Forslund said that users would have to participate like consumers who have private insurance.

Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis says she supports efforts in the House of Representatives to de-fund the Affordable Care Act. 

Lummis says there are too many problems with the health care overhaul, starting with the individual mandate. That says everyone must purchase insurance or face a fine.  The idea is that with more people getting health insurance, health care costs will go down.  But Lummis met with a group of young male Wyoming workers who convinced her that the idea won’t work.

St. John's Medical Center

More than 90 people gathered this week at the Teton County Library in Jackson to hear St. John's Medical Center CEO Dr. Lou Hochheiser explain health care reform.

Hochheiser told the crowd that as part of health care reform the federal government would be cutting what it pays hospitals to treat Medicaid and Medicare patients by five-to-25 percent. He said the goal is to use some of those savings to pay for expanding Medicaid coverage... essentially, paying less per patient in order to cover more people.

A Medicaid fraud recovery bill has gotten initial approval from the House of Representatives. The bill would permit the state to investigate Medicaid fraud by medical providers and recipients without involving the federal government… Currently investigations only go forward when the federal government decides to investigate.

Representative Elaine Harvey says the bill is necessary to recover millions of dollars for the state.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Media

Governor Matt Mead continues weighing the pros and cons of expanding Medicaid to include those in the state who earn 133 percent of the poverty scale.  The expansion is part of the healthcare overhaul known as the Affordable Care Act. 

      Wyoming U-S Senator John Barrasso continues to hope that the U-S Supreme Court will toss out the entire Affordable Care Act and force Congress to develop a new health care overhaul.  

If that happened, some popular programs– including the ability for children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until the age of 26 – would go away.  During an appearance on FOX News, Barrasso said that would be part of any new legislation.

Wyoming’s largest health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield says they’re unsure what effects will be felt in the state should the Supreme Court strike down the Affordable Care Act.

Wendy Curran is with Blue Cross Blue Shield. She says the insurance giant has been working hard to get up-to-date with provisions laid out by the ACA. However, should the act be struck down, she says many of the acts provisions would likely remain. But all eyes are on one key provision: