At the Wyoming Senate budget session meeting on Feb. 23, there was an attempt by Senator Cale Case to get Medicaid expansion added to the budget.

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Case tried proposing an amendment, S2033, as an add-on to the budget that is currently being debated.

When introducing the amendment, Case said that expanding Medicaid in the state would create 1,900 jobs, 1,300 in healthcare, that the expansion would help hospitals across the state, and that federal funding through the American Rescue Plan would allow the state to do "virtually do this for two years without any cost."

However, after bringing up the amendment, Senator Ogden Driskill spoke up to say that he doesn't believe that the amendment is allowed to be passed through the budget, which requires that only bills that fall under "ordinary expenses of the legislative, executive, and judicial departments of the state, interest on the public debt, and on public schools."

Because Case decided not to withdraw the amendment, a rules committee hearing was called to decide whether the amendment was allowed or not.

After the Senate reconvened, they announced that the rules committee had ruled 3-2 that Medicaid expansion was not an ordinary expense of the legislature, and thus is unconstitutional.

Senator Chris Rothfuss attempted to object to the ruling of the rules committee, but Senator Dave Kinskey wanted to move forward and accept the ruling, which immediately got the three seconds needed to move forward with that motion.

The Senate adjourned to verify another rules question, and then when it returned eight minutes later, Case announced that he was withdrawing his amendment on Medicaid expansion and the Senate moved on.

Jan Cartwright, deputy director for Healthy Wyoming, said in an email that while they don't like what happened, they will keep fighting for Medicaid expansion.

Healthy Wyoming is a collection of healthcare organizations that have been fighting for several years to try and get Medicaid expansion passed in Wyoming since the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 it was up to the states to decide whether or not to expand Medicaid and held several rallies in support of expansion at the beginning of the budget session.

"While Healthy Wyoming was disappointed that the sponsor withdrew the 2nd reading amendment to the budget, we are still dedicated to making sure that everyone who is eligible for expanded Medicaid is considered in any future legislation," Cartwright said. "We applaud legislators who are continuing to work for Medicaid expansion and will support their efforts whether this session or in 2023."

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