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Dems push Mead on expanding Medicaid

Dec 22, 2013 - By Ben Neary, The Associated Press

Wyoming Democrats are trying to turn up the heat on Gov. Matt Mead and other Republicans over their opposition to expanding Medicaid to cover 17,600 low-income adults in the state.

State Democratic Party chairman Pete Gosar and others are pushing to raise public awareness of the issue.

They accused Republicans of allowing their political opposition to President Barack Obama's signature health care reform law to deprive thousands of working people of health care coverage they desperately need.

"It not so much the cost that we focus on, but the people we focus on," Gosar said. "But the other side has said, 'it's not constitutional,' and that proved not to be the case. And then, 'it's not affordable,' and now that's not the case. And so every reason that comes out is just not the case, and so it comes down to this is a political thing."

Gosar said Republicans have had three years to come up with an alternative to the Affordable Care Act but have failed to do so.

"'No' is not a solution, and 'no' doesn't move Wyoming forward," Gosar said. "It doesn't help working people who are out there doing the best they can, working 40 hours a week just trying to get ahead, and they don't have an option for health care."

Soon after taking office three years ago, Mead steered Wyoming into the multi-state legal challenge that resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court generally ruling that the law passed constitutional muster.

Mead has recommended repeatedly that state lawmakers reject the optional Medicaid expansion.

The Legislature early this year rejected $50 million in federal money for the optional expansion.

Mead early this month released a budget proposal for the two-year state funding cycle that also calls for rejecting federal money for the expansion.

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Affordable Care Act