Gov. Matt Mead again said no to accepting the Medicaid expansion available from the federal government in his Nov. 29 budget message. And again we say, “Fine, but what’s your solution?

The people most interested in the answer could be the more than 16,000 Wyoming residents who do not receive health insurance because the state rejected Medicaid expansion. It was a requirement of the Affordable Care Act until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could choose whether or not to accept expanding coverage. The affected people are those without children earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

Wyoming hospitals also keenly follow the debate.

When Wyoming first rejected the Medicaid expansion earlier this year, the Wyoming Hospital Association President Dan Perdue said, “We’re concerned that a lot of people who don’t have insurance will continue to use the emergency rooms for their primary care.”

He said that people without insurance often go to an emergency room even for minor medical issues because they have no other choice. Uncompensated hospital care cost $200 million in Wyoming in 2011, Perdue said.

Hospital administrators have been frustrated that they must deal with the expected financial fallout from the state’s choice to refuse federal money for a population whose care they often cover.

After the 2013 legislative session, Mead said he wasn’t shutting the door on future decisions regarding taking the expanded Medicaid money. He asked the Wyoming Department of Health to investigate alternatives to Medicaid expansion. State health officials had predicted that the rejected Medicaid expansion could have saved Wyoming $47 million over seven years.

But in his budget message, Mead apparently decided against the report’s recommendations, although he complimented Health Department Director Tom Forslund “for his part in bringing forward thorough material on Wyoming’s options.”

But next the governor wrote, “However, with regard to the optional Medicaid Expansion, I cannot, now, in good conscience, recommend the State sign on to a plan that is both poor in design and poor in implementation.”

Simply, the governor joins a number of legislators in putting their mistrust of the federal government first in their decision-making. The federal government has agreed to pay for all the costs of the expansion group until 2017. At that point, states would be responsible for paying 5 percent of the costs and then would have to pay 6 percent in 2018, 7 percent in 2019 and 10 percent in 2020 and beyond.

But Sen. Charles Scott (R-Natrona) expresses why Wyoming legislators would turn down this money that would help the poorest citizens when he says, “The key issue is whether you can trust the federal government to keep its promises. We don’t.”

Plenty of other Republican governors have made the same choice in refusing the Medicaid expansion money. But GOP governors in New Jersey, Arizona, Michigan, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio and Nevada made the opposite decision. As Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said in announcing his decision to take the money, “It’s simple. We are putting people first.” He added that it was also a pragmatic choice because “expanding Medicaid will ensure New Jersey taxpayers will see their dollars maximized.”

In refusing the money for Wyoming, Mead said Wyoming will “look for opportunities and to continue to monitor” how the ACA is working.

We think that it’s essential to go beyond looking and monitoring to proposing concrete solutions if the state wants to turn down federal-financed health care assistance for more than 16,000 people.

(46) comments

dd ric
dd ric

Anybody notice Scott gets his same grazing leases his familys' had for years? And that new Liz Cheney super PAC ad against Enzi stating that the Obamacare exchange in Wyo. is the most expensive in the Nation? Why do you so called Republicans love lies? Charles Scott and Matt Mead are well-heeled,and the very ones NOT to be trusted with this States' future,and this States health issues. ddric

Kool Kat
Kool Kat

Attn ddric, Scott has every right to Wyoming lands managed by the Federal Government. And since these lands are still called Wyoming and not Obamaland, Mr Scott can pay for grazing fees - fees that help pay for Managing Wyoming lands.
Please do your research before attacking a fellow Wyomingite for grazing his cattle to help feed the rest of us. Cause as it stands, your socialist slip is showing with comments as that, as your words point out. Most Wyomingites are not interested in Obamacare enough to expand Medicaid, trusting Obama and his lie predicated Obamacare.

side oiler
side oiler

Do you know any other words besides "socialist"? That BS is really getting old,especially when RINO's are worse at their track record.

Kool Kat
Kool Kat

If it talks like a socialist, and acts with actions of a socialist? Then what else could it be, but a socialist? I don't support RINOs, just so you know but, will not replace a RINO for a full-fledged social/liberal, either.

EditProf
EditProf

Not expanding Medicaid is one of the few things Mead has done right. Every medical professional who stays abreast of the medical literature knows that patient outcomes are much poorer under Medicaid -- even worse than no insurance at all. Government-run programs are also a nightmare for medical professionals with their red tape, regulations and restrictions in being able to do what is best for their patients versus what makes money for lobbyists. Hopefully, people in Wyoming are not using this paper as their primary source of information. They would know that "insurance" is not the same as care and that most medical professionals are refusing to work under Obamacare. What's the next step? The Democrats are proposing forced servitude of medical professionals. I don't want a doctor who has been forced to care for me. Read today's Washington Times: http://washingtonexaminer.com/article/2540272#null

Kool Kat
Kool Kat

Well said and well pit.

side oiler
side oiler

By your logic,you support the same old greedy rip off insurance schemes,along with the Doctors and Hospitals who are in bed with this incessant greed.Something needs to be done about the exorbitant ripoffs the health care grinches have instilled on Americans,especially when we have to pay for R&D so the rest of the world can get cheaper care.

glendorealist
glendorealist

If doctors don't want to deal with government red tape, maybe they should look for another profession. Its just part of the cost of doing business. In just the past year, my wife had a medical device installed by a surgical procedure. Just a couple months later the device had to be replaced because it wasn't put in right the first time. The doctors office charged medicare again for the same procedure. The doctor should of stood behind his work and not charged for the same procedure again. If government should stay out of health care, why do local governments support all the volunteer ambulance services in this state.

newtown
newtown

The docs should stand behind their work and that would go a long way. However, patients have responsibility in their recovery. I am well aware that that portion of the procedure is often disobeyed and they should be placed squarely on the patients shoulder. This little lesson has taught us that neither takes any responsibility and medicaid will bail us out regardless. Also, your surgeon often does not make a fair wage when doing socially funded procedures. Congrats you not only get surgery on the surgeons dime and peripheral care on us but you bash the surgeon while doing it....standard.

glendorealist
glendorealist

Excuse me, put your bifocals on. I said MEDICARE paid for the procedure. My wife has worked all her life and is retired and she has MEDICARE which she contributed to while she was working and continues to pay a monthly premium for her medicare insurance. Her recovery had nothing to do with it, it was improperly placed.

newtown
newtown

Both points are easily answered and are not a scandal. ACA is garbage and Mead is standing up to poor legislation. Federal financed health care? You mean taxpayer funded and one step further is funded "theoretically" by young low risk taxpayers and supplemented by higher wage earners. 50% of the taxpaying population contribute zero to the system, uhm, rather any of the systems. That must be your segment dd ric.

wyotruth
wyotruth

of course Mead is right not to expand Medicare. why should anyone care about people without insurance who can't afford it because they work at jobs without insurance. that's their fault and they deserve to get sick and go bankrupt. it is not my problem that my neighbor is uncovered. after all, helping my neighbors would make me a commie. we should all only care about ourselves and to heck with everyone else. (For those of you not bright enough to understand this is satire).

Kool Kat
Kool Kat

Attn wyotruth, please - put down the kaleidoscope. The reality you see, really isn't as it seems.

side oiler
side oiler

Watch out you will have the Rod Serling wannabes after you.

Kool Kat
Kool Kat

Attn side oiler, you and your buddies are trying to shoot the messenger instead of the threat.

Sage52
Sage52

You will no doubt have them on your six any time now.

strool35
strool35

The left winger are out in full force today whining, nothing new about that.

Sage52
Sage52

There is no amount of whining and sniveling that can match the regurgitated drivel and pablum coming from you right wingers,and it is seen every day in large amounts.

newtown
newtown

It would be interesting to have a survey that shows those in favor, or not, of the ACA and if those in favor, or not, use social medicine, use other forms of welfare, pay income taxes, and which tax bracket they fall into.

glendorealist
glendorealist

It would also be interesting to have a survey of those that are against the ACA as to which tax bracket they fall into compared to their gross income, after they take all the deductions they do on their tax return. Maybe we would see who is really trying to cheat the government / other taxpayers.

glendorealist
glendorealist

What there is " nothing new about " is right wingers not offering any solutions to the health care problem, they are more interested in their wealth protection. It appears Wyoming has so many CINO's, ( Christian In Name Only ). Maybe people in Wyoming should start putting the Almighty God first instead of their almighty wealth.

Todd
Todd

Two things create a huge percentage of medical problems, cigarettes and booze. Tax both of them even heavier to help pay for the medical costs they create. Use that money to create a fund for medical care for the in betweens.

glendorealist
glendorealist

It would seem alot of things cause medical problems that we all have to pay for, ie Type II diabetes because someone chooses to do all their grocery shopping at the fast food place, maternity care because a couple choose to have a baby, someone that chooses to work at a hazardous profession, people that have to many mva's because they choose to drive to fast, someone that chooses to allow their kid to play contact sports, and the list is endless. So why not put a tax on all these activities also?

rigrat
rigrat

Agreed,and while they are at it,put a stop to the baby factory syndrome that has overtaken the welfare system in this country.

I agree with that.

newtown
newtown

Or how about people take personal responsibility? Kids are another story all together.

NativeWyomingite
NativeWyomingite

I am ashamed of the governor. Policies like his have a basis in reality and that reality is the fact that politics trumped individuals every time. These poor people are hobbled by lack of health care and I am disgusted by the facile way he has just dumped these people to fend for themselves. Is there never a time when people's needs triumph over personal gain? This president gave us a gift, and Wyoming politicians are sticking it right up the people's nose. Wyoming is a failed state.

rigrat
rigrat

Many in Wyoming are stuck in a rut,and would like to leave for greener pastures because of the paltry wages that greedy employers offer while they live in a fancy house and drive a new 4 door gas hog truck.This entire country needs a shot of reality,bring back commodities and do away with SNAP and WIC cards so welfare queens can learn to cook for their prodigal kids.Actually welfare folks have it better off than a lot of working people anymore.Now come on and attack me...I await.

Pops
Pops

ACA is a humanitarian attempt to provide the uninsured with a sky hook in a world of selfish arrogance. Instead of assigning labels to political clones; how about listening to your own, individual conscience. In a world of me, mine and gimme more; the bell chimes in respect for a less fortunate brother. Taking care of me and thee is what we are challenged by a reverence
for life philosophy to accomplish. The light, truth, pease and love of a fellow traveler.

newtown
newtown

Pops- Pretty sure it is you screaming "gimme" buddy. Do you feel for my children who have no heath insurance now?

99Savage
99Savage

Again and again, people confuse health care with health insurance. The ACA (Obamacare) is not about health care. It is about spreading the "pain" and redistributing wealth. The ACA does absolutely nothing to address the cost of health care. In fact it will actually raise the costs, limit choices, and drive away healthcare professionals with more regulation, bureaucracy, and endless government involvement in adding, modifying, and revising this turkey. Doing nothing would have been better than what Obama and the democrats have foisted upon us.

The government can't you one stinking thing that it hasn't taken by threat or force from someone else. Platitudes on how we must be charitable to those less fortunate ring hollow when that "charity" must be enforced. I know of no Christian teaching that says that we should take from one to give to another. Yet we Americans are the most charitable people in the whole word, giving more of our personnel time and income to the poor than anyone.

We can do much better than the ACA. Solutions have been suggested and put forth, but the arrogant democrats and the narcissist Obama would not listen. Now the only thing left is damage control.

Jackalope
Jackalope

"Solutions have been suggested....." and sand in the gearbox has been produced and rejected, by GOP governors, the Supreme Court, and American voters.

Marnie
Marnie

Wyoming's Health care solution if you're poor and sick? Die.

Wilderness
Wilderness

I believe this editorial asks the question: "What‘s your health care solution, Wyo. leaders?"

What's the answer, please? I'm very tired of all of the complaints. I'd like some answers. A plan. The whisper of a plan. Something

luci29
luci29

Amen to that!

67XL
67XL

If it talks like a RINO, and acts with actions of a RINO? Then what else could it be, but a RINO? See how the door swings both ways.

wyobarney
wyobarney

As a rural state Wyoming's citizens are forced to depend greatly on it's local hospitals for an increasing share of it's health services. From medical testing to diagnosis, surgery and more. These county, or "memorial" hospitals depends on a lot of taxpayer's money to survive. Look at your property taxes. For about 100 years now, state law dictates no person can be refused the use of these non-profit hospitals based on the ability to pay. Every year these hospitals are forced to " write off" $200,000,000 in unpaid services. Typically 14-17% of their total. Many of our hospitals struggle as is, without the additional lost of revenue. How do they make up for this lost? Higher fees passed on to those who do pay, and/or more taxdollars. Not that difficult to figure out. Nationally there is an average of 48.2 visits to an emergency room per 100 people per year. As more and more people lose more and more benefits at there places of employment, as these increased costs are passed down to those with insurance, making it harder to afford on ones own, I believe anyone should be able to clearly see this cycle is unsustainable

newtown
newtown

Medicare is no different. Procedure payouts to the surgeon are poor at best. A lifetime of medicare contributions will go a very short way until the user is a taxpayer burden. Many procedures are things that would never be done without the gleam of not having to pay. This system does not require a competitive marketplace or excellence or accountability. IF the surgeon was at fault, they should take the responsibility and correct the procedure. Problem then becomes the high cost of another device and all the peripheral care (hospital bills) that accompany. Medicare is still a social program that the user generally consumes way more than they contribute.

rigrat
rigrat

Taxpayer burden? Someone should have told the greatest generation they are/were a tax burden,but I doubt anyone has the ca jones to do it.

glendorealist
glendorealist

The entire health care system in this country is a system that does not have a competitive marketplace or excellence or accountability. That why hospitals don't publish their rates and why before any surgery there is always a form to sign relieving the provider of accountability. I was told I needed a particular surgery a few years ago. I called the hospital to find out how much it was going to cost. It was like nobody has ever called asking for that info. It was over a day after they called back with an amount. I never had the surgery because it appeared to me that the doctor was pushing it because I have good insurance. Maybe its not that medicare payouts to providers are poor, but that providers think they are worth more then they really are, particularly when they don't stand behind their work. It appears you have little real information or you get it from a biased source.

wyotruth
wyotruth

Two points about Medicare. I have been paying into it for 35+ years. By the time most people use it they have a 40+ year investment in it. Second point, it works. It is a fact that Medicare (that darn socialist program for the elderly) saves lives and extends the life expectancy of its beneficiaries. A real government success program. I, for one, look forward to benefiting from it. Not that it is perfect, but nothing really is.

wyotruth
wyotruth

ACA is trying to put competition into healthcare coverage.

Wyoite
Wyoite

Yes, and how is that competition thing working out here in Wyoming? Have you checked the premiums being offered on the Obamacare website? My annual premiums would be $24,500 a year.

billy
billy

Everybody needs to be covered, how that happens is a job for Our Leaders. They need to get it done! Health Care, we are all paying for the others now, they are just trying to make it more equal.
The top one percent rich, do they need to be reminded who's money they have? Americans take care of each other, it is one of the things that makes us great!

Wyoite
Wyoite

"Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes"

If the Feds want them covered and want to pay for covering them, tell them to go ahead.

This is only a State of Wyoming issue to the extent the Feds can bamboozle our Governor into inserting the State between the citizens and the federal healthcare system.

Don't forget Wyomingites, the Trojan horse was also left as a gift to the people of Troy from Odysseus and the Greeks. We know how that story ends. Mead and Sinon sound the same warning trumpet, "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes" (I fear Greeks, even those bearing gifts).

wyoandy
wyoandy

The liberals that continue to support the atrocity known as Obamacare immediately spout the old canard " what does the GOP have to offer". Have any of you taken the time to listen to the 28 different idea put forth, but never allowed to be considered as DEMOCRAT MAJORITY SENATE LEADER HARRY REID refused to allow them to be brought forth to be voted upon, it seems to be an issue with Democrats actually reading anything, after all its much easier to be spoon fed your daily issues of ire and discontent, rather than actually researching anything beyond what MSNBC,KOS,HUFFPO, and the other alphabet entities funded by that patriot of patriots George $oro$, right?
\With the complicity of the media touting the liberal line "Republicans want you to die" remember that one from FL Democrat Alan Grayson, its been pretty easy for those considered useful and somewhat ignorant to continue the lie that there have been no alternative ideas put forth.
Now remember folks, Obama had 51% of American voters supporting him and at one point 65% backing for a VERSION of health care reform. Once we finally were able to see what was in it, as God knows it would have been to much for us simple minded fools to comprehend, according to DEMOCRAT (then) HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI. It was the DEMOCRAT Congressional MAJORITY which rammed the law through while obviously doubtful that a single one of them ever read the first page let alone the entire behemoth pork laden legislation. Lets move forward, 3 1/2 years while the best and brightest, those smarty pants liberals, (who constantly remind all of us backwards redneck Duck Dynasty Tea Party religious types how we just ain't gettin' them nuances cuz we is just to think to understand them big words) work diligently to put the infrastructure in place that will allow the consumer to sign up for Obamacare. 3 1/2 years. Read that again, 3 1/2 years and not only is the website not functioning in ANY way, but the structure that would allow for payments, coding, transactions with medical offices, and the rest of the unbuilt, untested, inoperable 80% that was required to be in place in order for the thing to work in any conceivable manner. I guess 3 1/2 years just wasn't long enough, maybe Obama should have looked in more then twice during the 3 1/2 year process eh?
So here's one for you liberals, this should be pretty simple, if this legislation was indeed the wondrous achievement that was promised, why then are so many DEMOCRAT CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS opting themselves and staff from it? Why is Obama himself only signed up in a figurative manner. and most importantly, why did a law that had over 65% support (that is if you can believe any polling associated with Obama and the current herd of liberal/progressive/socialists who CALL themselves Democrats) suddenly drop in such a manner that now close to 75% of the nation feel that it is a failure and refuse to support it. Keep in mind before pointing that crooked claw towards all us dumb ol redneck Fox News watchers that we only make up 49% of the vote. In other, it seems once YOUR brethren determined that it wasn't free and that there would actually have costs associated with it, over 40% of those that once supported it turned against it.
Now one last point, as far as all this nonsense goes, in America, we have the finest healthcare period, that is a fact. The costs are ridicules that also is a fact. Why then are we not given a choice to have the same type of Government backed system as is in place for National Flood Insurance. Those in high risk areas pay a small portion relative to the amount of coverage that is backed by the Federal Government. Seems like a pretty straightforward plan, the hook of course is that the individual would actually have to pay out a portion, not just 100% subsidized, but that of course is NOT the liberal way.

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