Last week, the Wyoming state House voted against a proposal that would have expanded Medicaid as part of the federal Affordable Care Act, an important part of making it “work.”
According to Rep. Kendall Kroeker (R-35) in a Feb. 19 post on his Facebook account, the Medicaid expansion amendment died with a 15-41 vote against the measure. This means that Wyoming has officially joined a growing list of states refusing to participate in the implementation of President Obama’s controversial health care reform law.
According to research conducted the Advisory Board Company, 24 states have yet to implement the Medicaid expansion provision of Obamacare as of Feb. 11. Some states have flatly rejected the expansion and have passed legislation banning the entitlement hike. Other states are still undecided at the present moment. Because of the failure of this amendment, it is now less likely that Wyoming will participate in this crucial aspect of Obamacare.
During the Obamacare case before the Supreme Court, Rob Natelson and his colleagues at the Independence Institute argued that the law’s provisions forcing the states to expand Medicaid were unconstitutional. Neither the Constitution nor case law, they pointed out, permits the federal government to use federal spending programs to coerce the states. Seven of the nine justices agreed with them, essentially adopting the arguments advanced in their brief.
As a result, the states may consider freely whether or not to accept additional federal funds for the Medicaid expansion. Accepting federal funds might seem to bring the states short-term fiscal benefits. But the fiscal risks of doing so are very great—perhaps eventual bankruptcy. Rejecting Medicaid expansion can help states stay fiscally solvent while making Obamacare more difficult to implement by the federal government.
Judge Andrew Napolitano has said that the denial of Medicaid expansion (combined with further resistance measures) taken by a number of states would “gut Obamacare.” James Madison, writing in Federalist #46, said that such a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” would create effective roadblocks to stop implementation of federal acts. That is what the state of Wyoming is well on their way to doing by rejecting this amendment.
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