In a press release Monday Governor Scott Walker took undue credit for covering 81,731 Wisconsin residents. What the Governor’s press release does not make clear is that by rejecting enhanced federal Medicaid dollars offered by the Affordable Care Act, an additional 84,700 low income Wisconsin residents would have also been covered. His misguided approach is costing the state more money to cover fewer than half the people that could have been covered by simply taking federal dollars that all of Wisconsin’s neighboring states are accepting.
Walker’s press release says those he is forcing off BadgerCare can sign up for the new federal marketplace (which he incidentally wants repealed), but fails to note that the subsidies were not designed for people at their income level. Citizen Action of Wisconsin and other health care advocates believe many working families will not be able to afford increased co-pays and deductibles. Citizen Action of Wisconsin recently reported that deductibles alone will increase by an estimated $26 million dollars for those being denied BadgerCare by Governor Walker.
As Citizen Action of Wisconsin recently reported, Walker is rejecting up to $1 million a day. In his press release, the Governor again raises the canard that he is rejecting federal money to protect Wisconsin taxpayers. In fact, federal Medicaid spending is mandatory, which means it is the most reliable federal revenue. Walker takes over $18 billion in federal dollars in his state budget, much of it subject to annual appropriations and therefore far less reliable than Medicaid dollars.
“It is the height of hypocrisy for Governor Walker to take undue credit for expanding access to health care for low income Wisconsinites,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “Because of Walker’s politically motivated decision to turn away up to $1 million a day for BadgerCare, tens of thousands of Wisconsin’s most hard pressed working families will be forced to choose between health care, food, rent, and other basics.”