GOP Guv Is Demanding His State Expand Medicaid Under O-Care

January 15, 2015 2:08 p.m.

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead (R) has become a forceful advocate for Medicaid expansion, using his State of the State address on Wednesday to demand Wyoming’s legislature adopt the key Obamacare provision.

“We have fought the fight against the (Affordable Care Act),” he said at the statehouse, according to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. “We’ve done our best to find a fit for Wyoming. We are out of timeouts, and we need to address Medicaid expansion this session.”

Mead, as the conservative governor of a thoroughly Republican state, is emblematic of the conservative thawing on Medicaid expansion. He began negotiating with the Obama administration in July, and his office released an expansion plan in November. Under the plan, enrollees would have to make small co-payments and those above the poverty line would have monthly premiums.

“The fact is many of us don’t like the ACA, including me. But here’s another fact,” Mead said in his State of the State. “Our federal tax dollars help pay for the ACA, and Wyoming tax dollars pay for the ACA.”

“Do we choose to have that Wyoming money be returned to Colorado, California or Wyoming?” he continued. “I say Wyoming.”

While Mead ramps up his effort in Wyoming, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter (R) is also urging his state’s legislators to consider Medicaid expansion options. Utah, Indiana and Tennessee are already negotiating with the Obama administration, while some expansion advocates in Texas see reason for optimism there.

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