Wyoming Poll Finds Majority Support for Medicaid Expansion
In a poll conducted in Sept. by New Bridge Strategy, 66% of registered voters in Wyoming either somewhat support or strongly support the legislature voting to expand Medicaid coverage to more citizens.
The poll also showed support across party lines, with 98% of Democrats, 64% of independents, and 58% of Republicans supporting expansion.
As of Sept. 2020, 62,643 people in Wyoming were covered by Medicaid, and if the Wyoming legislature voted to expand coverage in the state, another 25,000 people could be covered.
The fight to expand Medicaid has been ongoing since 2014, when the Supreme Court ruled that the Medicaid expansion was constitutional, but that it would be up to individual states to enforce it.
Since then, most states have expanded Medicaid coverage, except for Wyoming and 11 other states.
That is why several groups have been pushing in Wyoming for the legislature to vote to expand coverage.
R.J. Ours, government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said that they are hoping to get the legislature to approve the expansion either at the upcoming special session, or at the budget session in Feb.
Ours said they were encourage by the vote that took place this past Feb., in which the bill passed the state House for the first time, but was unable to make it out of a Senate committee by one vote.
While the vote still failed, Ours said it's still progress, as previously the legislature had not been able to get a vote on the bill in either chamber.
"It was a combination of things. I think from the comments that I heard members make during debate, some just decided it was time, others the federal situation with the recover act and the situations that it set out seem to make it more fiscally possible then perhaps in the past."
The cost associated with expanding Medicaid would require the state to cover 10% of the cost, $20 million annually, while the federal government would cover the other 90%.
However with the recent passage of the American Rescue plan, that would change to the government covering 95% to the state's 5% for two years.