It’s Time That Wisconsin Accepts the ACA Medicaid Expansion

I mean…really…it is time. I realize that former Governor Scott Walker couldn’t accept it prior to his run for president in 2016…it would ruin his conservative cred nationally. But really, we are wasting Wisconsin tax dollars in the meantime…$1 billion so far since the Affordable Care Act was passed. And it’s not like other red states haven’t signed on…quite a few have…and couldn’t go backwards now if they wanted to…the average American wants the coverage. As a matter of fact, Wisconsin is actually in the small minority of states that haven’t accepted the Medicaid expansion.

I really don’t think that any of the current Republican elected officials have plans for offices beyond Wisconsin…so the Medicaid expansion in Wisconsin shouldn’t put them at any risk. So let’s get this thing done…let’s follow Governor Tony Evers’ lead and pass a bill to improve the lives of fellow Wisconsinites.

And guess what? The money we save could help solve the budget issues Wisconsin will be facing this next budget cycle. Projected savings in the next budget are projected to be $280 million while the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum projects a $2 billion shortfall with Wisconsin just treading water. So accepting the expansion is also fiscally responsible…which should be an easy sell to the GOP’s electorate.

Gov. Tony Evers said Tuesday he would plow ahead with plans to expand a health insurance program under Obamacare despite Republican opposition, but gave up on a campaign pledge to dissolve the state’s economic development agency. 

Republican lawmakers hailed the Democratic governor’s decision to abandon — at least for now — his proposal to replace the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. with a traditional state agency focused on stimulating business growth. 

While plans for the economic development agency have been set aside, Evers and Republicans remain at odds over expanding health insurance to low-income people using Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act. 

Evers said he saw the plan as essential because it would provide insurance to 76,000 more people while saving the state $280 million over two years because the federal government would pick up more of Wisconsin’s health-care costs.

Republican leaders said they would not go along with Evers’ plan to provide BadgerCare Plus to more people using Obamacare funds. 

“Expanding government-run health care is a non-starter,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester. 

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau said he also believed Evers’ idea would not gain traction. It was a stronger stance than the one he expressed a month ago when Fitzgerald said he wouldn’t rule the idea out. 

Government run healthcare? Outside of the Veteran’s Administration hospital system, I am not aware of any health care resources owned by the government. Medicaid pays for healthcare…private doctors and clinics and hospitals still provide it. So Speaker Vos is blowing smoke here. BTW: does he plan on foregoing Medicare when he retires (or do former legislative members get some cushy healthcare package for life?).

And who got to Senator Fitzgerald? As the quote above says he was open to the idea a month or so ago.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald signaled Thursday he wouldn’t rule out using federal dollars to expand Medicaid — a move long opposed by Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers and demanded by Democrats and Gov.-elect Tony Evers.  

Fitzgerald told reporters in a wide-ranging interview that there isn’t much support for accepting the federal money to make the expansion among his GOP caucus, but that it’s also too early to say he would oppose doing so. 

So Ladies and Gentlemen! Let’s improve healthcare coverage in Wisconsin. Let’s use some federal funds to do so and free up Wisconsin tax dollars at the same time. And let’s try a little bit of bipartisan co-operation to start off the new legislative session…Wisconsin will thank ALL of you for it.

Extra credit reading: Demand That Wisconsin Join The Medicaid Expansion Club


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