Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Wyoming lawmakers kill second Medicaid expansion effort in five days
breaking top story

Wyoming lawmakers kill second Medicaid expansion effort in five days

House of Representatives

Representative Pat Sweeney of District 58 reads over his list of House bills Monday during session in Cheyenne. Sweeney's bill to amend the state constitution to expand Medicaid failed Friday.

A late proposal to amend the state constitution to expand Medicaid failed Friday afternoon, the second time in five days that lawmakers roundly rejected the program.

Casper Republican Rep. Pat Sweeney filed the bill Wednesday. It faced a tall order: It would’ve required two-thirds of the House and Senate to vote yes before being sent to Wyoming’s voters for approval. Early Friday evening, the House voted overwhelmingly — with 40 nos and 16 ayes — to end the effort for this session.

In testimony before the vote, Sweeney told his fellow lawmakers that he wanted to avoid what had happened in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah.

“What I don’t want us to get into is what our neighboring three states had in 2018 — not that long ago,” he said. “Ballot measures that they didn’t control. With this constitutional amendment, that’s what this is about.”

Casper Republican proposes constitutional amendment to expand Medicaid, three days after previous effort failed

Support Local Journalism

Your membership makes our reporting possible.

He said that while the vote would eventually have ended up in front of the voters, the legislators could control the language and the breadth. His bill would’ve expanded Medicaid to include those making 138 percent of the federal poverty line, which is about $36,000 a year. That’s the standard language for expansion across the nation.

“Our voters sent us here to make these votes,” said Rep. Tyler Lindholm, a Sundance Republican, urging the House to reject the proposal. “That’s it. And if they don’t like our votes, then they’ll find someone else to do it.”

Wyoming House kills Medicaid expansion bill at first hurdle

The failure of Sweeney’s bill comes just days after the House swiftly killed another bill that would’ve allowed Gov. Mark Gordon to study expansion and then decide whether to move forward with it, with the Legislature effectively having veto power.

Under the federal rules for expansion, the state would’ve paid 10 percent of the new costs going forward, while the federal government would pick up the remaining 90 percent. According to state projections, Wyoming would’ve paid $18 million vs. $136 million from the feds.

Coalition of Wyoming health organizations come together to lobby for Medicaid expansion

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Education and Health Reporter

Seth Klamann joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 and covers education and health. A 2015 graduate of the University of Missouri and proud Kansas City native, Seth worked for newspapers in Milwaukee and Omaha before coming to Casper.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News