Picture this, it is 6:55 a.m. and you call Sundance police dispatch because someone has been hit and is laying along side of the road suffering and you are told that there is no one on duty to respond until 8 a.m. and it takes one of them up to 45 minutes to respond what do you do then? That isn’t quite what happened but close enough to cause a lot of concern. It wasn’t a person it was a deer but the outcome was the same. The deer had to lay there suffering for up to 45 minutes because it is illegal for me to shoot it, discharging a weapon in city limits is a $100 dollar fine, but we have no officers on duty until 8 a.m. I guess anyone needing an officer’s help has to wait for them to get out of bed. Well the next time it happens and the game warden is out of town you might as well bring your ticket book with you when you decide if and when you want to show up because I will not let the deer lay there suffering like it had to this time. Well worth the $100 fine to put a suffering animal out of its misery I do believe.
Thank you for your time.
First, I would like to commend you on the fine article of January 21 titled “The Medicaid question”. I felt that it was well written, described this question in detail, and presented several points of view.
I find myself in agreement with the coalition of community organizations and healthcare providers including our local hospital management. I also find that my feeling on this issue is in stark contrast with the argument presented by our Representative Tyler Lindholm. I like Tyler, consider him a friend, and find myself agreeing with him on many issues, but not this one. I would present as a counter argument to his portrayal of the fictitious ‘Joe Smith’, an alternative called ‘Jane Doe’. I do this because over half of the Wyoming citizens who would be aided by the Medicaid Expansion are single mothers with children, working substandard paying full time jobs or two or more part time jobs, just to make ends meet.
In Wyoming, women are paid on average by most estimates, 68 to 72% of what men make for similar work. Would most of them like to have better paying jobs? Absolutely. Would they like their jobs to provide benefits such as health insurance? Absolutely. Would they like to have opportunities for higher learning so that their lot in life could be improved? Absolutely.
Unfortunately for most, these opportunities are out of their grasp for many reasons. The old argument of the drain on society of the ‘welfare queen’ does not ring true in this case. These people work, sometimes 70 or more hours a week, just to provide for their families. They would love not to have the burden of worrying about what would happen if they or one of their children were to be sick or injured. They worry how they might pay for medical services. Our medical providers, including our own local providers, would love to be reimbursed for these services, and not have to pass them on to the rest of us in an attempt to make their financial ends meet.
In Wyoming the estimate is that Medicaid Expansion would aid 20,000 uninsured, and would mean if extrapolated to an average of 4% of the population, that 200 of our Crook County neighbors would benefit. Representative Lindholm knows these people. They may serve you coffee at the local convenience store, drive the bus your kids ride to school, repair your car, work in retail, or provide many of the other services that we all take for granted. They would love to get a better job and have benefits, but the task of just providing for their families puts much of this out of reach. If a single mother of two works a full time job with no benefits and earns $12 an hour, she is in that gap between qualifying for the existing Medicaid benefits and not being able to afford insurance. Does she consider herself poor, most likely not because she has a full time job that pays a decent wage, but is she one medical emergency away from disaster? Yes. Look around, these are your neighbors, and in many cases your friends.
I encourage Representative Lindholm and his fellow legislators to expand Medicaid as the Governor has proposed, and if the concern is that the Federal Government will eventually push the cost burden back to the states, write the law with an escape clause.
We already contribute to the funding of this program through our Federal taxes. Let’s bring these dollars home, and let them help our neighbors, lift them out their social condition, and see the opportunity to better themselves in order to get that better paying job he talks about without the fear of a medical disaster.
I find it callous for him to suggest that the burden lies with them alone when the opportunity for aid is so readily available. I doubt that any of us who are more fortunate would be where we are today without the aid of someone else. I know I owe a debt and thanks to many.
We are better than that in Wyoming, and we can do better for our citizens and neighbors.