Statewide – Less than a week before Governor Walker releases his state budget, Indiana’s Republican Governor reached a deal Tuesday to accept enhanced federal dollars to strengthen its Medicaid program.
Indiana’s forward step puts additional pressure on Governor Walker to take the federal money to strengthen the state’s popular and successful BadgerCare program. Wisconsin the only state in the Great Lakes region to refuse the dollars, now that Republican Governors in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana have all moved forward.
Citizen Action and other health care advocates have recommended Iowa’s model for accepting the enhanced federal dollars for BadgerCare provided by the Affordable Care Act. Iowa’s plan was negotiated with the Obama Administration by Republican Governor Terry Branstad. Some commentators believe the specifics of the Iowa plan, which are similar to Wisconsin’s model except the federal government is paying for it, could provide Governor Walker powerful reasons to take the money.
“With Indiana’s decision to take enhanced federal Medicaid dollars provided by the health care reform law, Wisconsin is now lagging behind every state in the Great Lakes region,” said Robert Kraig, Executive Director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. “It time for Governor Walker to join the growing list of Republican Governors who have made the pragmatic decision to accept federal funding to guarantee affordable health coverage to more residents and prevent damaging cuts to schools, universities, transit, and other critical state investments.”