The chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Party on Monday blasted Gov. Matt Mead’s decision against recommending the Wyoming Legislature expand Medicaid.

The federal government is offering Wyoming money to expand Medicaid coverage to 16,000 low-income adults who lack health insurance. Last year, the state Legislature decided against expansion, which is being offered as part of the new health care law, commonly called Obamacare. On Friday, Mead recommended state lawmakers make the same choice again in the upcoming session.

Pete Gosar, the Wyoming Democratic Party chairman, said in a statement released to the media on Monday that Mead was more interested in cementing ideological purity and winning elections than being reasonable.

“But these callous political calculations don't help young families find health care, and they certainly don't strengthen the financial viability of our local hospitals and medical clinics,” Gosar said. “These type of decisions hamstring Wyoming’s people with unaffordable healthcare costs, and makes our businesses less competitive.”

Robin Van Ausdall, executive director of the Wyoming Democratic Party, said that many of the 16,000 adults without health insurance earn too much money to qualify for subsidies on the exchanges, or marketplaces where people can compare prices and policies.

“His refusal to support Medicaid expansion all but ensures that Wyoming's less fortunate and working poor will continue to be without access to Wyoming's healthcare system,” Gosar said.

But on Monday, Mead’s spokesman, Renny MacKay, said the governor doesn’t want the 16,000 Wyomingites to be without healthcare. He just thinks a Medicaid expansion could be problematic.

In his recommendations for the state’s two-year budget that the Legislature will have to balance in early 2014, Mead said the healthcare law is in doubt. The rollout has been plagued with difficulties. Since online health insurance exchanges began operation, some people have learned they can no longer keep the same insurance policies they once had.

“There’s no question there’s an issue related to these 16,000,” MacKay said. “[Mead’s] position, though, is this is not the answer to that issue.”

MacKay noted that the governor is proposing $200,000 for the team health care delivery concept known as medical homes, $200,000 for aging and disability resource centers, $200,000 for the 211 phone resource that connects Wyomingites with community services, $2.7 million for immunization and $1 million for a partnership to expand electronic health records.

Reach state reporter Laura Hancock at 307-266-0581 or at laura.hancock@trib.com. Follow her on Twitter: @laurahancock.

(8) comments

bapalm
bapalm

Thanks, Pete for telling it like it is. The governor's recommendation against Medicaid expansion is totally political grandstanding. Medicaid expansion would already be in place in Wyoming if Republicans in the state looked at the issue on the merits.

Bleeding-Heart
Bleeding-Heart

Ummmm ya you don't have insurance and that is a problem. Just not a problem that any of the Republicans in this state are willing to solve, especially governor mead. He had been no friend to the poor or disadvantaged in this state. He would rather stand on his ivory tower and claim that the ACA is unaffordable, hmmmm why do you think that is????

newtown

ACA is terrible legislation and is having detrimental results. Even your esteemed leader acknowledges unseen issues causing catastrophic results. You want some sort of fairness but as usual redistribution of wealth is your answer. Those who have executed a plan and worked hard don't deserve to be the pawns in your ploy. How about you come up with a plan that doesn't discriminate against hard working and healthy citizens? You love to villainize those who have made something of themselves including the doctors who are now faced with an absurdly unfriendly business environment. Where do you think the $ comes from? The taxpayers...well the 50% who actually pay tax, whodon't get medicare and will pay out their nose for health insurance. My kids deserve to benefit from my risks and effort, not the slobs down the street who are willingly unemployed, driving an Escalade, and wasting their day with the PS3. I have always been willing to listen to views and was sympathetic to ACA until my children's health insurance policy was cancelled and lies and deceit played a major roll. Our rates will double at the least with a $10,000 deductible. How would paying $10,000 a year just to begin your benefits and start enjoying the policy that already costs $10000/year challenge your family? No, the answer is not "expanded medicare would have lessened the blow". Still being pick-pocketed by lazy policy regardless of which pocket they are stealing it from.

Pops

The governor is playing politics with our health care. Now you see him; now you don't The old sleight-of-hand. Don't play games with our lives, governor.

rocl

I beg to differ with the Governor and his spokesman, the ACA was off to a shaky start but it's future is not in doubt. It is not in doubt because from now until far into the future the National Republican Party will not have the majorities in Congress or the Presidency to repeal the law. So get used to it, they might as well jump in and help fix the problems with the law so we can all move on.

dd ric

The Gov. is just another rich punk with money,he came from money,and during the primary debates he'd run into the seats to "mingle" with the McMurrays and Trues. Mead seems to do nothing which surely means he'll be re-elected.Meanwhile,some will get ahead of his game and people will want a Gov. that works for THIS state,and doesn't idolize Rick Perry or Scott Walker. ddric

sophieg

The Governors decision is not surprising. Curious, how much money would the Federal Government have given Wyoming? From the article it looks like he is taking 3.5 million out of the coffers to go toward health benefits?

JANE BROOKS
JANE BROOKS

Well that was quite a rant Newton. Let me enlighten you though. There are tens of thousands of people who work very hard in Wyoming and do not make more than 25,000 per year. Some people like myself have been a Medicaid provider of services for disabled and elderly people . I have not had the luxury of health care provided to me . I would be happy to purchase the health care on the Obama exchange a pay for it with my hard worked for cash. But because Matt sees fit to stay focused on No Obama. It will be impossible for me to afford it as it will be more than double due to his decision. I am a senior now and healthy but it would be nice to be able to see a doctor if I needed one. I have also as all Medicaid providers who provide respite received a reduction in pay once again this past july . One more way that Matt Mead doesn't care for the working class people . Apparently Newton really rakes in the bucks so has no worry's. Like the children who have severe disabilities on the Medicaid waiting list.

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