On June 1 I noted Republican State Sen. Terry Moulton went public with his support for a Medicaid/BadgerCare expansion here in Wisconsin, and it appears Sen. Moulton isn’t the only Republican State Senator who publicly disagrees with Gov. Scott Walker’s decision to refuse an expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare that would be financed almost completely with federal funds. Gov. Walker’s refusal to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid will cost state taxpayers $119 million from 2013 to 2015, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
In the June 13-20 edition of the City Pages, Republican State Sen. Jerry Petrowski of the 29th Senate district made it clear that he believes the state should pursue the full expansion of Medicaid as part of our state’s implementation of Obamacare. Sen. Petrowski cited several reasons for his belief that the state should pursue the full expansion of Medicaid:
First, fewer people would be insured if we force the portion of population who fall between 100% and 133% of the federal poverty level into Obamacare. Many of these people won’t enroll leaving them uninsured. Taxpayers will still pay for the care of the uninsured people, but it will be poorer care and at the same time more expensive care often provided in the emergency room.
Second, Obamacare policies cost taxpayers more than Medicaid coverage for these very low income people because the government pays for about 98% of their premiums for Obamacare. Simply put, having these people covered under Obamacare is expected to cost taxpayers around $550 to $830 more per person than keeping them in Medicaid.
Third, Wisconsinites pay the same federal taxes as any other U.S. citizen, and it doesn’t make fiscal sense to refuse dollars coming back here. We end up paying for people in other states without receiving any benefit here. I don’t see any of this as fiscally conservative.
Here’s a copy of Sen. Petrowski’s comments in the June 13-20 edition of City Pages:
In addition to Sens. Moulton and Petrowski, the folks over at Citizen Action Wisconsin have identified four other Republican State Senators who have expressed their concerns about Gov. Walker’s decision to refuse federal funds to expand Medicaid here in Wisconsin, a decision that as I noted above is estimated will cost Wisconsin taxpayers $119 million over the next biennium.
When I think of Gov. Walker’s decision to refuse billions of dollars in federal funding for Medicaid expansion for our state, costing Wisconsin’s taxpayers $119 million, I’m reminded of the saying, “Pennywise and pound foolish.”