Ignoring his legislature, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead pushes for Medicaid expansion

posted at 6:01 pm on January 14, 2016 by Kristina Ribali

As the fate of Obamacare and its Medicaid expansion program grows bleaker every day in Congress, Wyoming’s Gov. Matt Mead has decided it’s time try and push the massive expansion of welfare on his state once again.

Mead didn’t get the message when the Wyoming legislature rejected his plans in 2015, or when they rejected Obamacare’s expansion a whopping six times in 2014. In fact, the legislature moved to tie Mead’s hands further and ensure he doesn’t act on expansion without their approval.

Wyoming’s legislators have had plenty of reasons to be reticent about expanding Medicaid, as experiences in other states have shown how expensive all that ‘free money’ is.

A recent Forbes article by Josh Archambault and Jonathan Ingram laid out the grim reality of expansion in other states.

“In Ohio, Medicaid expansion ran $1.5 billion over budget in its first 18 months. The state of Washington had to increase its biennium budget by $2.3 billion to deal with higher than expected expansion costs and, having now surpassed even those revised projections, overruns will only continue to climb. Illinois’ expansion ran $800 million over budget in 2014 and has now signed up more able-bodied adults than state official predicted would ever even be eligible. And in Kentucky, Medicaid expansion was estimated to run a combined $1.8 billion over budget in fiscal years 2014 and 2015.

These states weren’t outliers. They were the norm.

In states with available data, actual expansion enrollment surpassed initial projections by a whopping 91 percent. Worse yet, each of these states also blew past their projected maximum enrollment, by an average of 73 percent.”

No matter what the pro-expansion camp says, Medicaid expansion isn’t free, and its costs are going up. The last time Wyoming’s legislature turned down Mead’s expansion, the feds were still picking up 100 percent of the treatment costs for newly-eligibles (which is really just code for working-age adults without disabilities). And even though President Obama is pushing to extend that match indefinitely, it would need approval by Congress, and with their recent votes defunding Obamacare, that’s highly unlikely.

Even states that are currently getting the 100 percent match are struggling to afford the administrative costs.  Lawmakers should be putting resources towards teachers and education programs, officers and public safety, and engineers and infrastructure. But Mead wants them to take that money and give it to people who generally already have health insurance. Yes, that’s right, nearly 56 percent of the enrollees under Mead’s plan already have health insurance, according to estimates from Lewin Group Health Benefits Simulation Model.

Just looking at the numbers, Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion makes no sense for Wyoming.  If Governor Mead was serious about real solutions, and not just growing the welfare class, he’d be looking to states that refuse to buy DC’s promises of “free money” for expansion but that face similar challenges – states like Kansas.

Kansas has as many rural health care struggles as any state, and they’ve even had to deal with the loss of a rural hospital. Plenty of people in expansion states can tell you that Medicaid won’t save rural hospitals, so there has to be a better way. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback asked for a working group to address the issues facing rural hospitals and to develop innovative solutions. There they realize that the problems are bigger than a few uninsured patients using the emergency room. Rural hospitals have to survive demographic changes, economic swings, and burdensome federal regulations that increase the cost of providing health care.

Rather than just massively expanding the welfare state at the taxpayers’ expense without regard to the consequences, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer responded to Brownback’s call by assembling a team of rural physicians and hospital administrators along with policy makers and cabinet members.

“The Rural Health Working Group brings together a wealth of professional knowledge and personal experience to address rural healthcare access and outcomes with Kansas solutions,” said Colyer.

“As a fifth generation rural Kansan and physician, I understand that rural hospitals are often the lifeblood of their community. We must continue to form Kansas solutions to sustain rural health care.”

Mead should embrace the opportunity to find creative solutions. He should challenge and empower his staff, he should call on the legislature, and he should talk to experts in the health care industry to develop new ideas, rather than trying to be the champion of the Left’s crowning achievement: more dependency on government.

Thankfully Mead has the legislature to save Wyoming from Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. Hopefully they can kill this year’s expansion plans early so they can focus on the many other real issues in the state that demand their attention.
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Kristina Ribali is the senior coalitions director for the Foundation for Government Accountability. Follow Kristina on Twitter and Facebook for the latest on Obamacare.


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Comments

In Ohio, Medicaid expansion ran $1.5 billion over budget in its first 18 months.

Thanks, John Kasich.

rbj on January 14, 2016 at 6:04 PM

Invading Californians have effed up Wyoming too?

viking01 on January 14, 2016 at 6:07 PM

Mead didn’t get the message when the Wyoming legislature rejected his plans in 2015, or when they rejected Obamacare’s expansion a whopping six times in 2014. In fact, the legislature moved to tie Mead’s hands further and ensure he doesn’t act on expansion without their approval.

Sounds exactly like what happened here in Kentucky with the former Governor Breshear. Luckily Bevin kept his #1 campaign promise and notified HHS that Kentucky will cease the KYnect program and everyone will have to go to the federal site for health insurance and Medicaid and Kentucky will no longer pay for any expansions.

We currently have almost 1/3 of our entire state population on Medicaid which it unsustainable.

Johnnyreb on January 14, 2016 at 6:12 PM

another rino.

WryTrvllr on January 14, 2016 at 6:14 PM

You rarely hear about Wyoming, it is probably the second most conservative state in America.
They need to primary Mr. Mead at the next opportunity.

22044 on January 14, 2016 at 6:15 PM

Wow…you can’t fix stupid.

celt on January 14, 2016 at 6:33 PM

Why don’t these states completely opt-out of all federal healthcare mandates, regulations, and funding? Exercise the 10th Amendment and simply state that X state will run their own healthcare affairs and that federal regulations no longer apply.

Brian in Titletown on January 14, 2016 at 6:35 PM

DARN! Wyoming!!! WTHECK?

ooonaughtykitty on January 14, 2016 at 6:39 PM

Utah’s governor is the same: pushing for this monstrosity over and over, despite the legislature killing it every time.

But the Utah republican party is pretty solidly GopE, unfortunately. Maybe wyoming’s the same? You know, DIABLO’s?

Vanceone on January 14, 2016 at 6:46 PM

I’m starting to think the only places left to retire to someday will be Texas and South Dakota.

celt on January 14, 2016 at 6:55 PM

Wyoming’s state budget is already in deep doo-doo because of the loss of mineral revenue with the downturn in the coal and oil industries. Expanding medicaid would be the end of Wyoming’s enviable status as a low-tax state. If Mead gets away with this, the imposition of a state income tax is inevitable. I sure hope the legislature stops him again.

merlich on January 14, 2016 at 6:56 PM

As the fate of Obamacare and its Medicaid expansion program grows bleaker every day in Congress

If obamacare were actually in trouble everytime you claimed it to be the program would have crashed in 2011. But strangely all your claims of trouble turned out to be rather…ephemeral? Or maybe insubstantial is a better term.

Tlaloc on January 14, 2016 at 7:01 PM

Invading Californians have effed up Wyoming too?

viking01 on January 14, 2016 at 6:07 PM

California Budget Surplus Nears $1 Billion

I suspect Wyoming wishes they had Cali’s problems.

Tlaloc on January 14, 2016 at 7:05 PM

Why don’t these states completely opt-out of all federal healthcare mandates, regulations, and funding? Exercise the 10th Amendment and simply state that X state will run their own healthcare affairs and that federal regulations no longer apply.

Brian in Titletown on January 14, 2016 at 6:35 PM

Because they remember how the civil war turned out?

Tlaloc on January 14, 2016 at 7:08 PM

Lawmakers should be putting resources towards teachers and education programs, officers and public safety, and engineers and infrastructure.

Yes lawmakers should be hiring more state workers to suck on bloated budgets and underfunded pension programs.
I’m so old I remember when Hot Air had conservative writers.

lowandslow on January 14, 2016 at 7:17 PM

In fairness, he does have a pen and a phone.

307wolverine on January 14, 2016 at 7:20 PM

Because they remember how the civil war turned out?

Tlaloc on January 14, 2016 at 7:08 PM

Are you advocating for a civil war instead of states exercising their 10th amendment rights?

Old Country Boy on January 14, 2016 at 7:21 PM

Old Country Boy on January 14, 2016 at 7:21 PM

Either/or.

vnvet on January 14, 2016 at 7:23 PM

Are you advocating for a civil war instead of states exercising their 10th amendment rights?

Old Country Boy on January 14, 2016 at 7:21 PM

No, just reminding you what happened the last time states decided they could ignore the federal government.

Tlaloc on January 14, 2016 at 7:26 PM

If obamacare were actually in trouble everytime you claimed it to be the program would have crashed in 2011. But strangely all your claims of trouble turned out to be rather…ephemeral? Or maybe insubstantial is a better term.

Tlaloc on January 14, 2016 at 7:01 PM

…the actual term is “you’re a liar”…substantiated over and over an over and…

No, just reminding you what happened the last time states decided they could ignore the federal government.

Tlaloc on January 14, 2016 at 7:26 PM

…another $2 towards the Brainloc GED Fund…

Pelosi Schmelosi on January 14, 2016 at 7:34 PM

When I moved to Wyoming in 82 everyone wore cowboy boots. when I left in 92 everyone wore berkinstocks. Yeah, California moved in.

scookam on January 14, 2016 at 7:37 PM

…the actual term is “you’re a liar”…substantiated over and over an over and…

Pelosi Schmelosi on January 14, 2016 at 7:34 PM

I prefer to use a lighter touch when criticizing the blog owners, but have it your own way…

Tlaloc on January 14, 2016 at 7:51 PM

I prefer to use a lighter touch when criticizing the blog owners, but have it your own way…

Tlaloc on January 14, 2016 at 7:51 PM

…another $1 towards the Brainloc GED Fund…

Pelosi Schmelosi on January 14, 2016 at 8:01 PM

No, just reminding you what happened the last time states decided they could ignore the federal government.

Tlaloc on January 14, 2016 at 7:26 PM

You truly are a complete idiot. I mean really. Yeah, that’s why the civil war was fought. They were just “ignoring” the federal government, they didn’t want to secede and have their own SEPARATE federal government or anything.

“The Civil War started because of uncompromising differences between the free and slave states over the power of the national government to prohibit slavery in the territories that had not yet become states. When Abraham Lincoln won election in 1860 as the first Republican president on a platform pledging to keep slavery out of the territories, seven slave states in the deep South seceded and formed a new nation, the Confederate States of America. The incoming Lincoln administration and most of the Northern people refused to recognize the legitimacy of secession. They feared that it would discredit democracy and create a fatal precedent that would eventually fragment the no-longer United States into several small, squabbling countries.”
http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/faq/?referrer=https://www.google.com/

No even close to the same thing. What a dolt.

Patriot Vet on January 14, 2016 at 8:24 PM

wait til the states that accepted it are cut of by the government and have to fully fund by the states

all hell will hit the fan

telephone2 on January 14, 2016 at 8:27 PM

Remember, Tlaloc thinks that America should have lost the Korean, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Gulf War I, Gulf War II, and Afghanistan wars. He thinks that wanting to decide your own health care instead of letting some flunky in DC decide it for you is grounds for a civil war.

This guy is truly traitorous.

Vanceone on January 14, 2016 at 8:38 PM

No, just reminding you what happened the last time states decided they could ignore the federal government.-Tlaloc
Funny stuff so you think federal soldiers should be sent to sanctuary cities to enforce federal immigration law and federal soldiers should be sent to Colorado to enforce federal drug laws?

LeeBelieu on January 14, 2016 at 9:12 PM

You think federal soldiers should be sent to the White House to compel enforcement of Obama’s healthcare law? He’s waived more provisions than the states

LeeBelieu on January 14, 2016 at 9:14 PM

Should federal soldiers be dispatched to compel Congress to appropriate money to build the border fence? That’s at least a 10 year old statute. If not why not Mr Federal law and order Tlaloc?

LeeBelieu on January 14, 2016 at 9:17 PM

That’s awesome, as the state starts losing coal and gas revenue.

MH53J on January 14, 2016 at 10:49 PM

If obamacare were actually in trouble everytime you claimed it to be the program would have crashed in 2011. But strangely all your claims of trouble turned out to be rather…ephemeral? Or maybe insubstantial is a better term.

Tlaloc on January 14, 2016 at 7:01 PM

How about you cut me a check for $1200 you slavery loving socialist. That is how much my “healthcare plan” went up this year for the premiums.

oryguncon on January 14, 2016 at 11:06 PM

Because they remember how the civil war turned out?

Tlaloc on January 14, 2016 at 7:08 PM

ME terrorists continue to blow our $#!+ up and Obama’s answer is to send a half dozen guys over there to train 50 other guys who end up getting themselves promptly dead. The idea that he’s going to go to war with his own country over buying health insurance…

… actually, when I put it that way, it actually seems a little plausible…

The Schaef on January 15, 2016 at 9:54 AM

They claim that 19 million people have become members of Obamacare. America has a population of 320 million. This means that only 16.842 percent of the American citizens are actually paying premiums into this bankrupt system. (Plus the President, Congress and the Senate are NOT members of “Obamacare !” They all have PRIVATE medical-insurance with Blue Cross & Blue Shield !) Somebody has to tell this “mental-midget” tlaloc that he has been “Grubered” in a VERY painful way !

Bugdust172 on January 15, 2016 at 11:08 AM

This is another example of what happens when Country Club Republicans get elected. This guy was born rich, grew up in Rockefeller ranchland in suburban Jackson (a fantasy town situated near Wyoming) and he has accomplished nothing in his life.

MTF on January 15, 2016 at 12:03 PM