Wyoming governor pushes ObamaCare Medicaid expansion

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Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead (R) is renewing his push to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare in his state. 

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Like several states with supportive Republican governors, though, Republicans in the state legislature have still resisted the call. 

Mead pressed the legislature to re-examing the issue as it considers a budget. 

“Expansion would help cover healthcare costs for roughly 20,000 Wyoming citizens — our friends and neighbors — many who are working,” Mead said. “It would bring an estimated $268 million of our federal tax dollars back to the state and help with the enormous uncompensated care costs facing our hospitals.”

He also noted his political history with the Affordable Care Act. 

“I opposed the Affordable Care Act and sued to stop it,” Mead said. “However, we lost the legal and political battles and now we must deal with that fact.”

A common concern from opponents, beyond general concerns about cost, is that the federal government will end up not living up to its commitment to pay 90 percent of the cost down the road. 

Seeking to counter that argument, Mead said he supports “including language that protects the state should the federal government renege on their financial promise.”

The Associated Press reported that supporters will try to attach Medicaid expansion as an amendment to the budget on Friday, but opponents said the effort will fail. 

“I think we're pretty solid in the Legislature that we're worried about it tying us down in the future to increasing costs that aren't coming from the federal government to fill the gap in our Medicaid,” state Rep. David Miller (R) told The Associated Press. “So I just don't see it being passed.”

Thirty-one states have so far accepted ObamaCare’s expansion of eligibility for Medicaid, up to 138 percent of the poverty line, or about $33,000 for a family of four. 

The Obama administration has been pushing the rest to expand Medicaid as well, emphasizing its willingness to compromise and allow states to put some conservative twists on the program, like making beneficiaries pay premiums. 

South Dakota is seen as one of the state’s most likely to expand next. The Republican governor there, Dennis Daugaard, has been pushing for expansion. 

There had also been hopes in Alabama, but Gov. Robert Bentley (R) recently cast doubt on the move.