We applaud Rep. David Northrup and the House Revenue Committee for approving HB-80, Medical Treatment Opportunity Act. Nearly two-thirds of Wyoming’s voters support Medicaid …
We applaud Rep. David Northrup and the House Revenue Committee for approving HB-80, Medical Treatment Opportunity Act. Nearly two-thirds of Wyoming’s voters support Medicaid expansion. The present $54 million federal incentive makes it especially attractive for Wyoming to enact HB-80. If we don’t, federal tax dollars that our residents have already paid will go to other states.
The Affordable Care Act made health insurance accessible to tens of millions of previously uninsured Americans. But the courts carved out a hole in this coverage, leaving millions of mostly working people without affordable insurance.
Their incomes were too low to qualify for the subsidized premiums and too high to qualify for traditional Medicaid.
To resolve this inequity, the federal government allowed states to expand Medicaid coverage and fill the coverage gap at their own discretion, while paying only 10% of the additional cost. Since then, all but 10 states have adopted Medicaid expansion, including every state that borders Wyoming.
Our state ranks near the bottom in operating margins of rural hospitals, with nearly two-thirds of them losing money. The predicament arises in part from providing $120 million in yearly uncompensated care to the uninsured. In the past decade, most rural hospital closures have been in states that refused to expand Medicaid.
Montana’s Medicaid expansion yielded $270 million in savings for the state budget over five years, created nearly 6,000 health care jobs and added roughly $650 million to the state economy. Dozens of studies show Medicaid expansion has rescued rural hospitals, revived the health care industry, and prevented the deaths of thousands of young and middle-aged adults. Not one Medicaid expansion state has exercised its option to repeal the program.
We hope other members of the Park County delegation will follow Rep. Northrup’s lead as HB-80 proceeds through the Legislature.
Linda and Ronn Smith