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Let's Talk Medicaid Expansion

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

The Wyoming Legislature's Joint Revenue Committee will be considering a bill on Medicaid Expansion on Tuesday.

Today we're parsing the facts about Medicaid Expansion, what it means for mortality and economy (to say nothing of actual health outcomes). Tomorrow we'll take a look at what it means for women and our families. Here are the key things you need to know with links that are worth reading.

Wyoming is one of 14 states that did NOT expand Medicaid in 2012.

According to a study from NBC news, a review of the Medicaid budgets for all 14 states that refused expansion showed their expenses increased drastically after 2012. That means that insurance and healthcare are more expensive for all of us because our Legislators chose to turn down lifesaving measures and millions of dollars to pay for them.

Want to know why we say "lifesaving"? Read on.

Economists found that opt-in states experienced a 9.3% reduction in the mortality rate among near-elderly adults of lower socioeconomic status, adding up to thousands of lives saved. Opt-out states, accordingly, experienced thousands of avoidable deaths.

The study looked at a targeted population who tend to have poor health and for whom good insurance coverage might make a major difference. Death rates dropped in the states that expanded Medicaid, saving 19,200 lives over four years.

A 2018 study from the University of Colorado found that the 14 states that refused Medicaid expansion saw a sharp increase of hospital closings, while states that expanded Medicaid saw hospital closure rates decrease.

Wyoming Hospitals are among the strongest economic drivers in our communities. For example, St. John’s Medical Center serves a four county area (Fremont, Teton, Lincoln, and Sublette) and is the community’s largest year-round employer with nearly 800 employees. Wages and benefits provide approximately $50M to the local community; with the AHA multiplier, this is more than $200M of annual economic impact in Teton and surrounding counties.

Hospital closings have devastating health effects and profoundly negative economic impacts, especially in rural states like ours.

And while we're talking about economic impact, we want you to know about the positive economic impact of Medicaid Expansion. Here are two key points: Multiple studies have found that Medicaid Expansion has helped people get or maintain work. The inverse is also true: work requirements reduce the insured rate without increasing employment.

So here is the bottom line: Wyoming needs Medicaid Expansion.

Healthcare is too expensive, people are dying, hospitals are closing, families are suffering, and WY can't wait any longer. Contact the members of the @WYLegislature Joint Revenue Committee and tell them.

Call them today.


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