Wyoming Liberty Group
In March, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a case that could decide the fate of Obamacare in Wyoming and around the country. The case centers on whether the federal government has the authority to issue tax credits to subsidize insurance on exchanges that it has established. If the chief justices rule against the federal government, it could mean the end not just for Obamacare’s subsidies, but its mandates and regulations as well. And herein lies an opportunity for advocates for patient-centered health reform to start making real changes to the way healthcare is financed and delivered.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. After the Wyoming legislature overwhelmingly rejected Medicaid expansion, its advocates returned to the drawing board to design another half-baked measure to help hospitals cope with the rising cost of uncompensated care. Senate File 145, otherwise known as the Uncompensated Care Bill, emerged as the alternative to Medicaid Expansion. And like Medicaid Expansion before it, the Uncompensated Care Bill is the latest quick fix that the legislature hopes will stop the bleeding, but fails to address the underlying symptoms.
The Food Freedom Act has passed in Wyoming. It decriminalized some voluntary capitalist acts between consenting individuals and not a moment too soon. Government regulation is no panacea and food regulation could soon become even more disconnected with its purported purpose of keeping us healthy. Seems the USDA may incorporate environmental sustainability in its upcoming 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. As special interest groups exert more control over government, we must eliminate the dead hand of government from our food choices.
With just two weeks remaining in the legislative session, the forces of socialized medicine were defeated, at least for now. After losing decisively in the Wyoming Senate and finding no traction in the Wyoming House, Medicaid Expansion supporters tried to ram this policy through with an amendment to the budget bill. Amendment 31 of HB0001 failed overwhelmingly, with 41 Nays and only 15 Ayes. Supporters cited the jobs it would create as well as increased federal funding for the state of Wyoming.
By Bradley Harrington
Published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on December 19, 2014.
“If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.” - P.J. O’Rourke, “The Liberty Manifesto,” 1993 -
If you’ve ever wondered what is wrong with health care in the United States, a perfect re-enactment of its fundamental problems is now occurring here in Wyoming, where state lawmakers believe that the solution is to expand the state’s Medicaid program:
You are likely to hear two arguments — myths, really — favored by Medicaid expansion advocates. The first is that Medicaid expansion will save our Wyoming hospitals; the second is that all enrollees will have their health needs met.
As for our hospitals, is true that the discounted “100% reimbursement” promised by the federal government for an estimated 17,600 new able-bodied enrollees (but not for current enrollees), combined with an expected surge in usage, particularly of emergency facilities, would bring an infusion of cash. But such reimbursements, even adding the tempting new Medicaid enrollee federal version, are not sufficient to sustain our hospitals over time.