After four years as governor, he had a vision. Matt Mead saw that, unlike him, not everyone was born with a silver spur in his or her mouth. Mead’s conversion occurred almost without notice. Quietly the governor became a supporter of Medicaid expansion. Suddenly he was concerned about the thousands of Wyomingites who lack healthcare.
Having been against Medicaid expansion before he was for it, Mead never explained
his conversion. But, this sort of conversion is without meaning unless those who
followed him when he was leading them in the wrong direction are also converted.
One of the all-time great conversion stories is found in the 9th chapter of “The Book of the Acts of the Politicians” of the Sagebrush Gospel. It’s the story of the conversion of Saul a/k/a Matthew Mead. It goes like this.
While still breathing specious arguments against Medicaid expansion, Matthew came unto the legislature, saying the Empire couldn’t be trusted to pay its share, that Medicaid expansion was sinful. As he was going along and approaching the 2015 legislature, suddenly a light flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Matthew, Matthew, why don’t you care for Wyoming’s working families who have no health insurance?”
Now there was a disciple in Cheyenne called Sancus, named after the Greek god of honesty. The disciple took Matthew aside. Sancus explained the state of Wyoming was losing tens-of-millions of dollars, leaving thousands of people without health care, and that many of the state’s hospitals were in danger of closing their doors. They cared for the poor despite the financial losses they incurred. The disciple explaineth that expansion of Medicaid would solve many of the state’s health-related problems while saving the taxpayers millions and building the state’s medical infrastructure, adding millions of dollars to the economy of local communities.
Sancus proclaimed, “Let those with ears hear!”
Matthew had heard all these things before, but in the glaring light the words suddenly made sense. He saw a vision. He became aware he was elected governor of all the people, not just some.
For days he was with the disciples in Cheyenne and began to proclaim the truth in the halls of the legislature. “Verily I say unto you, I know I have persecuted those who believe in Medicaid expansion. But now I say unto you I share their concern about taxpayers sending money to the Empire that goes to other states for healthcare. Render unto Wyoming people that which belongs to Wyoming people!”
All who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the Governor who made havoc among those who could not afford healthcare? Has he not gone to the courts and the legislature to make certain these folks never receive care?”
Mead confounded legislators. They had campaigned for seats in the Temple (which Jesus called a “den of robbers”) by repeating Mead’s very words promising constituents never to expand Medicaid. Then the Apostle Matthew sayeth, “We are now in this place with roughly 17,600 people falling in the (Medicaid) gap. Most are working but still can’t afford insurance. As of now, 4.5 million denarii ($90 million US dollars) that would have come to Wyoming have gone to other states.”
All who heard him marveled and said, “Duh!” And the multitudes said, “Matthew, if you really believe, go forth and leadeth.”
Governor Mead deserves thanks for joining those who understand the importance of expanding Medicaid. If the legislature is going to have the same conversion experience, he will need to explain why he was wrong before. Not a single fact has changed. Only Matt Mead’s views have changed. Why?
When the Apostle Paul saw the light, he wasn’t quiet about converting. He persuaded others to convert by explaining how he’d been wrong before. Neither should the Governor be quiet.
Memo to Governor Mead: “You led them in the wrong direction for three years. How do you plan to get them to turn around and follow you now?