Several lawmakers worried more residents than predicted would enroll in the program, costing the state more money. Others worried how the state would fund the program in perpetuity.
“I haven’t heard once how our state is going to pay for this,” said Rep. Chuck Gray, R-Casper. He added later: “There’s no appropriation, there’s no discussion on how much this is going to cost. It’s all predicated on a supposed match.”
But those advocating for the legislation pushed back, saying there is no backup plan, and no better ideas have been proposed.
“It amazes me how willing we are in other situations to take care of if there is just one, but in this case we know there are thousands,” the bill’s sponsor, freshman Rep. John Romero-Martinez, R-Cheyenne, told those opposing the legislation as the debate went on.
“This wasn’t just something that came up out of anyone’s head this year,” said Rep. Sue Wilson, R-Cheyenne. “Since I’ve been in the Legislature (in) 2013 … we’ve been looking at Medicaid expansion, we’ve been looking at insurance options, we’ve been looking at selling insurance across state lines, we’ve been looking at ways to fund family practice clinics. … There’s been … close to 10 years worth of attempts to find other programs.”
She continued, “After 10 years of trying to come up with plan B, I see no plan B, but I do see people coming through the Labor committee having serious, serious needs.”