Medicaid Push Fails in Wyoming Legislature, But Supporters Still Hopeful
Following several efforts to pass Medicaid expansion in Wyoming, the groups supporting the effort put out a press release announcing that the expansion wouldn't happen this time around.
At the legislative session in 2021, a bill expanding Medicaid was able to make it past the Wyoming House but died in a Senate committee, so this time around advocates were hoping they'd have a better chance.
However after an initial bill, House Bill 20, was not considered for introduction, and two other efforts to get the expansion passed as a budget amendment failed due to procedural reasons, Medicaid expansion won't be happening during the current budget session.
R.J. Ours, government relations director in Colorado and Wyoming for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said while they may have failed this time around, they'll keep working to try to pass the expansion.
"You live to fight another day. The momentum, the momentum is just incredible for this thing, in the public and I think in the legislature too for Medicaid expansion," Ours said. "It's just finding the right timing, the right vehicle, to get this through...We don't feel daunted, I think those of us in the coalition feel very empowered by the support that the public demonstrated, Healthy Wyoming put together a wonderful rally on the very first day of the session at the capital that was so compelling, great stories, just terrific event and great speakers, members of the legislature, etc. We've got a tremendous feeling of something good is going to happen, we're just going to work harder and redouble our efforts and do everything we can to come roaring back in 2023."
Support for expansion has shown some growth over the past few years, with a poll sponsored by the Cancer Action Network showing that 58% of Republicans, 64% of Independents, and 98% of Democrats support expansion.
Ours said that the attempts to get House Bill 20 passed were unsuccessful due in part to there not being the two-thirds majority needed to get it introduced, with them getting word of there being 30 something votes, but not the 40 necessary to get past the initial hurdle.
While Ours said his organization is non-partisan and thus won't support any specific candidates in the upcoming primary and general election, there may be some changes regardless.
"I can't speak for other organizations in our partnership, but we don't get involved in supporting candidates, we're completely a non-partisan organization," Ours said. "But doing the kinds of educational work that we do, and have done on this issue for a matter of time, it can't help but influence people's thinking, we want to be a thought-provoking organization within the cancer lense, and provide people with all the information they can have to make the choice they want too...It'll be interesting with new district lines, a couple of new districts in the House, and a new district in the Senate, what will that portend, who knows."