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Committee Passes Amended Medicaid Expansion Plan

wyoming legislature
Amy Richards, Townsquare Media

The Senate Labor, Health and Social Services Committee has passed an amended Medicaid Expansion plan that is seen as a compromise between two legislative proposals.

The plan includes the health savings accounts included in a proposal backed by Committee Chair Charles Scott (R-Casper), but also includes a number of features of the “SHARE” backed by Governor Matt Mead and others.

The medical savings account would originally be funded by $500 in “virtual money” from the federal government. That fund would not consist of actual dollars, but rather a “credit” which could be put towards health expenses. The money would be converted to actual dollars only if the person needed it for a medical bill.

Participants in the program would be required to make a $50 monthly payment into the account, and could lose the account if they miss three payments. If the person leaves the Medicaid system, all the money in the account above $600 could be used to pay for private insurance under the Federal Affordable Care Act..

Committee member Bernadine Craft (D-Rock Springs) said she was ‘thrilled” by the bill passed by the committee, which if approved could extend Medicaid coverage to roughly 17,600 working poor people in Wyoming.

About 13,000 of that number currently have no health coverage at all. The committee vote Wednesday was 4-1 in favor, with Republican Sen. Ogden Driskill  (R-Devils Tower) the lone no vote.

But Senator Bill Landen  ( R-Casper) said that although he would support the bill in committee, he still has “reservations” and wasn’t sure if he would vote for the bill if it makes it to the full senate.

The bill now moves on to the Senate Appropriations Committee for further consideration.

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