Medicaid Expansion Will Not Take Place in Wyoming This Year

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. State representatives defeated a bill which would have expanded Medicaid.

This bill also would have directed health department officials to obtain a federal waiver and institute work requirements.

"This would be something that would be subject to negotiation with the federal government. In general, they include things like requiring 20-hours per week of either employment or volunteer work." Said Representative Andy Schwartz of Teton County.

The federal government pays for 90 percent of the expansion.

The bill had a clause ending the program if subsidies dipped below 90%.

However, the bill's opponents are not convinced we can easily end the program.

"Regardless of what we're putting into our state law, we're signing into a federal program and they're the ones that wrote the law in that regard. And nowhere in their law does it have any kind of language that says a state can drop out at any time because the federal government doesn't uphold their end of the bargain." Explained Representative Tyler Lindholm of Crook and Weston Counties.

Despite opposing the bill, Lindholm does acknowledge a potential ballot initiative could for the legislature's hand.

"That's of deep concern because a voter initiative would have any of these requirements for work or matching funds from the federal government or any of those things along those lines." He said.

Schwartz says we're hurt by the current situation.

"It discourages people from getting health care. And I think you could argue that part of the role of government is to make sure that people at least have access."

Lindholm said he does support a Senate bill to study the topic.