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MANY RESIDENTS FACE HEALTH CARE WORRIES, CONCERNS ABOUT LACK OF CARE  

A new poll released today by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), AARP, the American Heart Association and American Lung Association shows the majority of Wyoming voters support efforts to increase access to health care by expanding Medicaid. Wyoming is one of 12 states that has not expanded Medicaid, which could increase access to care for about 24,000 hardworking, low-income residents in the state.

Additionally, the poll found many Wyoming residents feel instability in their health care situation. More than one in four say they are worried that they will lose health insurance, and many have lacked health insurance in the past three years.

Nearly two-thirds (66%) of Wyoming residents support expanding Medicaid in the state, according to the poll conducted by New Bridge Strategy. That support spans party lines: 58% of Republicans, 64% of Independents and 98% of Democrats in the state say they support it. Additionally, nearly two-thirds of Wyoming voters say they know someone who would benefit from Medicaid expansion and more than one in four (27%) say they are worried that they or someone in their household will be without health insurance in the next year.

"Our neighbors in Montana, Nebraska, Utah and Idaho are all benefiting from extending health coverage to low-income residents – it’s time for Wyoming to join them," said R.J. Ours, ACS CAN Wyoming government relations director. "These results show people’s very real concerns about cost of care and access to it for themselves and their families. They’re picturing loved ones who may be struggling to see doctors, pay for medications and get the care they need."

"Regardless of political party or region of the state, Wyoming residents want our family, friends and neighbors to have health care," said Richard Garrett, American Heart Association of Wyoming government relations director. "It’s great to see this level of support across the state, and we will be working hard with lawmakers to make sure that we increase access to health care for those who need it most."

Additional findings include:

  • 65% of residents say they want their state legislator to support Medicaid expansion
  • More than half of voters say the health care system is not meeting the needs of working, lower-income residents
  • Nearly one in three say health care costs and access to care are the most important issues in Wyoming

"The latest Wyoming Department of Health numbers suggest an estimated 29% of new enrollees in Wyoming would be between the ages of 50 and 64. These are our neighbors and co-workers and when they thrive, so do we. We know that access to care makes it easier to work, find a new job, pay for basic needs and succeed in today’s economy," said Sam Shumway, AARP Wyoming state director.

During the 2021 session, Wyoming legislators considered a proposal to increase access to care by expanding Medicaid to roughly 24,000 residents. The bill passed the House, but fell short in a Senate committee by one vote.

"Having access to health care is a matter of life and death for thousands of residents," said Carrie Nyssen, American Lung Association. "Public health and patient advocates like our organizations will continue fighting to ensure that Wyoming expands eligibility for affordable coverage through Medicaid. It’s long overdue."

Lori Weigel of New Bridge Strategy conducted the statewide phone survey of 500 registered voters in Wyoming. It has a +/- 4.38% margin of error.