Greetings WAC Community,
Fight the good fight of the faith. – I Timothy 6:12a
During noon recess on Friday for the Wyoming Senate, I went to the nearby Taco Johns for lunch with Dee Clary, who had been waiting and watching with me for the Medicaid expansion budget amendment to be considered. Dee is the Social Action chair of her local United Methodist Women unit.
Also getting lunch at Taco Johns was one of the Senators who are opposed to Medicaid expansion for Wyoming. I stopped to say hello to him and he shared how difficult it is to cut good programs, but that the cuts had to be made due to the lack of revenues. I pointed to my Medicaid expansion button that I was wearing and said that Medicaid expansion was obviously what the Wyoming Association of Churches sees as a solution. Adopting Medicaid expansion would bring in millions of federal dollars that could be used to avoid many of the cuts while providing health care insurance to 20,000 low income people in Wyoming.
He told me that he believes what the Wyoming federal congressional delegation says, that on January 20, 2017, will begin the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act to be gone within four months after a new administration is in the White House.
But then he said to me, “Keep up the good fight.” Of course, about an hour later, he along with 19 others voted “no” on Medicaid expansion. This happened despite the very broad-based support for Medicaid expansion in Wyoming.
Medicaid expansion has taken two major hits during the 2016 legislative session. First, the Joint Appropriations Committee rejected the Medicaid expansion portion of the Governor’s proposed budget. Second, the proposed Senate amendment to reinstate it into the budget failed.
The budget bills that came out of the House and Senate on Friday will greatly hurt Wyoming’s people, especially those most vulnerable among us. There were three ways to address the shortfall in state revenues in relationship to the budget:
Strategic cuts in expenditures.
Dipping into the “rainy day” accounts.
Adoption of Medicaid expansion.
The governor’s budget applied a combination of those things. The state legislature has hurriedly come up with counter plans. I cannot predict how this will pan out over the next two weeks. I do not pretend to know what the proposed budgets look like and the implications going to the budget conference committee. But I do know that the priorities are not what they ought to be.
In the next couple of weeks, a lot can happen. If the appointed conference committee is unable to come to an agreement, it could go into a second round where Medicaid expansion could be reconsidered. The governor could veto the whole budget bill, and, unless the legislature overrides his veto, they would have to start over.
But whatever happens, the Wyoming Association of Churches needs to keep up the good fight to expand health care coverage for all of Wyoming’s people. But to keep up the good fight takes financial support. Please go now to donate to support the Wyoming Association of Churches’ work for justice.
Fear not. Be bold. Do justice.
Please consider donating to aid in our work for Justice in Wyoming by clicking the link above or mailing a check to: PO Box 1473, Laramie, WY 82073.