Ogden Driskill: Medicaid Expansion — The Democrat Version of the American Dream

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By Wyoming Senate President Ogden Driskill
Guest column

Last year I wrote about my continued opposition to Medicaid expansion in Wyoming. Since rehashing Medicaid expansion has apparently become an annual event for my colleagues, I thought it would be good to review who is pushing Medicaid expansion, and why.

I pointed out previously that there are people who don’t believe federal overreach and out of control spending is such a bad thing, and those people support Medicaid expansion. That includes some “Biden Republicans” here in Wyoming who love the idea of “free” money from Washington, DC, even though that money comes with long federal strings attached.

The liberal media is all in on Medicaid expansion, which should tell us all we need to know. The press flaunts carefully worded “push” polls claiming that Wyomingites love Medicaid expansion. But I’ve seen other polls that dig a little deeper – as Wyoming voters learn more about the real costs and long-term effects of expanding Medicaid, support drops like a rock, especially among Republicans. 

The Biden administration has brought complete cultural and economic disaster to this country across the board from day one. Grocery prices are up, the stock market is down, and it costs an arm and a leg to fill your truck compared to two years ago. Medicaid expansion fits right in with Joe Biden’s “Ruin America’’ agenda.

President Biden is shutting down America’s fossil fuels and guarantees that we’ll do just fine on windmills and solar panels. Never mind that we’ve already seen the results – rolling statewide blackouts in Texas and California and thousands in Europe lining up to buy coal to heat homes and businesses this winter because there is no gas.

But you can bet that the same folks pushing to shut down Wyoming coal, oil and gas also support Medicaid expansion, I guess so all the unemployed workers they create with their job-killing policies can go to the doctor for free.

Biden’s crew is convinced that “greenhouse gasses” are a bigger threat to the world than China, Russia, North Korea and Iran combined, which means that they want to outlaw fertilizer and beef cattle. Those same people who want to destroy Wyoming’s ranching, farming and timber industries are all huge Medicaid expansion fans.

Biden demonstrates his complete ignorance about guns and the Second Amendment every time he calls hunting rifles “assault weapons” and says a bullet fired from a rifle travels five times faster than one from a handgun. And the people telling him “Attaboy” on gun grabbing? You guessed it – they’re all for expanding Medicaid.

And it’s not just Democrats – heaven knows “Biden Republicans” have done their share of damage. For example, Ohio and North Carolina have similar populations. Ohio expanded Medicaid in 2014 under a “Biden Republican” governor, while North Carolina never did. Nine years later, Ohio’s overall Medicaid spending alone now exceeds North Carolina’s entire General Fund budget!

Our friends up in Montana claim to have a good story about Medicaid expansion, if you call doubling projected enrollment and costs a good story. I maintain that Wyoming cannot afford to “save” that much money.

If my colleagues want the Feds to pay for health care, there’s a smarter way to let them. Under recent federal legislation, residents in states that have not expanded Medicaid – who make between 100% and 150% of the federal poverty level – can now qualify for free, federally-paid private insurance coverage on the Obamacare exchanges for at least the next three years, at no direct cost to them or Wyoming state taxpayers.

But if we do expand Medicaid, all those who could get private health insurance paid for by the Feds would be automatically disqualified from free (to them) coverage and instead be forced onto the Medicaid rolls, costing Wyoming taxpayers millions! That makes expansion even more foolish.

Many years ago, Ronald Reagan gave a great speech entitled, “A Time for Choosing.” It’s worth reading. We are in such a time now, as a nation and a state. There are those, of both parties, who choose to accept federal money, even with federal strings attached.

When we choose to take federal money, it means choosing to let the federal government dictate how we educate our children, how we use our lands, what kind of energy we can produce, and now, how we provide health care – all to get “free money” from Washington, D.C. – which we all know is never really free.

I believe that if you’re going to support Medicaid expansion, voters should understand whose camp that puts you in. It is the Democrat version of the American Dream – cradle to grave government dependency for all, while that same government robs us of our means to earn a living here in Wyoming.

In this particular “Time of Choosing,” that is not a choice I am willing to make.

Ogden Driskill is the President of the Senate and has served in the Wyoming Legislature since 2011.

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