The governor of Wyoming wants to expand Medicaid. Governor Mead (R-WY) has wanted to do that for a couple of years. The basic reason is that it is a combination of the right thing to do and it solves a lot of budgetary problems without any hard trade-offs. The Republican Legislature is opposed to Medicaid Expansion. Instead they want to spend money on a study for Medicaid expansion alternatives. This study is supposed to be fairly comprehensive:
Senate File 86 …. bill would require the Legislature’s Management Council to direct the design of a program providing medical assistance to people who cannot afford adequate health care.
That program would seek to …“shall seek to provide greater health status improvements than those provided by the Medicaid program,” according to the bill’s text.
The program also would coordinate with other public assistance programs with the aim of providing “incentive (for participants) to improve their earnings and economic status,” and would include a work requirement for those able to work.
SF 86 also stipulates the program shall consider the use of health savings accounts or similar accounts, and seek to “avoid spending monies that Wyoming does not have and … avoid the creation of any uncontrolled entitlement.”
The bill also stipulates Wyoming shall not seek approval from the federal government of any Medicaid expansion until the medical assistance program has been designed and reviewed by the Legislature.
It is a bill that freezes everything in place while a study is conducted.
This study is supposed to be looking at a lot of things. It requires significant knowledge of the Wyoming legislative history, Wyoming social welfare policies, employment training policies, economic development policies and the Wyoming budgetary process. This is a big scope of work.
And $20,000 is being provided for the entire study.
$20,000 is not even enough money to pay one graduate student a research stipend for a year. $20,000 pays for a single policy analyst for a month or two of their time. $20,000 pays for a single consultant for a month. $20,000 is nothing.
The only way a “study” could be conducted for that amount of money is to give the money to a “research” group where their interns and junior fellows copy and paste articles into a Word document, a senior writer puts in the appropriate ideological language and hopefully has someone look at subject-verb agreement before sending it out the door.
This is pure disdain for the entire idea of society taking care of the working poor.