Bill Kaplan: After the budget, Medicaid expansion

Governor Tony Evers wisely approved the budget passed by the GOP-controlled legislature, despite its being, “in many ways, insufficient”. Evers said: “Vetoing this budget in its entirety would have been more of the same divisiveness and petty, political theatrics that the people of Wisconsin have had to put up with for far too long.” Moreover, Evers ingeniously used a partial veto “to boost K-12 education funding in Wisconsin by about $65 million …” (Wisconsin Public Radio). That was on top of the $500 million increase that GOP legislators approved, having read the election-year tea leaves.

The most glaring budget omission was the failure of the GOP-controlled legislature to include Medicaid expansion. Evers decried Republican willful fiscal and moral blindness: “70 percent of Wisconsin citizens (43 percent of Republicans) support expanding Medicaid because they understand it will allow us to expand coverage to more than 80,000 Wisconsinites, save $324 million in state tax dollars, and bring in $1.6 billion in new federal investment into our health care system in Wisconsin …, and make health care more affordable by lowering premiums for folks who have private insurance.”

The June 20, 2019 JAMA Forum (Journal of the American Medical Association) supported Evers: “A series of new studies being released … are all starting to point to a single action that is behind … reducing mortality from … cardiovascular disease and cancer; addressing seemingly intractable racial disparities that plague the U.S. health care system; reducing hospital bad debt and rural hospital closures; decreasing maternal and infant mortality; lowering payday lending and housing foreclosures; creating jobs …; improving medication compliance; and lowering the cost of insurance. That action? Passing and implementing Medicaid expansion”.

Evers promised to “continue to fight for Medicaid expansion through separate legislation, future budget bills, and otherwise through every executive power I am afforded.” This can be done with a GOP-controlled legislature. Crackerjack Urban Milwaukee journalist Bruce Murphy opined that Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald exposed a division among Republicans in December, 2018 when he said he would not “rule it (Medicaid expansion) out”. Although Fitzgerald quickly walked back his comment, there are 3 GOP state senators who might support Medicaid expansion.

Republican state Senators Luther Olsen (Ripon) and Jerry Petrowski (Marathon) have both considered taking the federal money to expand Medicaid on multiple occasions. And, Republican state Senator Robert Cowles (Green Bay) showed independence in opposing the 2018 GOP power grab that limited the powers of Democratic Governor-elect Evers. All three conservatives are central to begin getting Medicaid expansion passed. Local media, business, community and religious leaders as well as doctors, nurses and hospitals need to reach out to these senators.

Former Ohio GOP Governor Kasich offers inspiration: “Ronald Reagan expanded Medicaid” and “When you die and get to the meeting with Saint Peter, he’s probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small, but he is going to ask you what you did for the poor”. Senators Cowles, Olsen and Petrowski should consider their legacies.

–Kaplan wrote a guest column from Washington, D.C. for the Wisconsin State Journal from 1995 – 2009.

“Trumped up 2020 election” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Trumped up 2020 election” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast

“Trumped up 2020 election” Battleground Wisconsin Podcast


We discuss Trump’s made for Fox TV campaign kick-off event in the wake of his trumped up fight with Iran. Will Trump decide that releasing the dogs of war is to his political advantage? Next, we dig into the critical state budget votes scheduled for next week, the growing right wing opposition to the GOP budget, and the options available to Governor Evers should a terrible budget reach his desk. We preview next Monday’s BadgerCare Expansion statewide Day of Action (see details below). Finally, the panel dives into the Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders dynamic in the Democratic primary election, looks ahead to the first Democratic  presidential “debate,” and discusses Beto O’Rourke’s LBJ like ascent from political unknown to presidential contender.
Listen Now – Episode #397
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Citizen Action Weekly: Citizen Action launches new radio and digital ads in support of expanding BadgerCare!

Citizen Action Weekly: Citizen Action launches new radio and digital ads in support of expanding BadgerCare!

Friday, April 26th

Citizen Action launches new radio and digital ads in support of expanding BadgerCare!

Citizen Action is turning up the public heat on the Republican legislators who are standing in the way of Governor Evers’ plan to expand BadgerCare to 83,000 working people. To intensify the impact of our grassroots organizing, Citizen Action launched a statewide radio and digital ad campaign this week.

LISTEN to the radio ad! Read More

Foxconn reality check

Foxconn reality check

We are joined by state representative Jonathan Brostoff to discuss Gov. Evers’ conclusion that Foxconn is unlikely to hire 13,000 workers and his decision to renegotiate the contract. We review the new UW-Madison study that found accepting Medicaid money would save state residents $100 million a year, on top of savings to the state savings. We also talk about the Trump MAGA rally coming to Green Bay, the Koch Brothers’ “astroturf” state budget campaign, and Congressman Sean Duffy dishonestly sneering at the Green New Deal.

LISTEN NOW – EPISODE #388
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Attend Green Bay Joint Finance Budget Hearing!
Wednesday April 24th
UW Green Bay University Union, Phoenix Rooms Read More

Citizen Action Weekly: 2019 Spring Election GOTV

Citizen Action Weekly: 2019 Spring Election GOTV

Friday, March 29th

Vote Tuesday, April 2nd

You can register to vote at your polling location. Click here to find your polling location.

Citizen Action Endorsed Candidates

Judge Lisa Neubauer
State Supreme Court

The election to replace retiring Justice Shirley Abrahamson is on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. Judge Neubauer faces Walker-appointed judge Brian Hagdorn in the election. The ultra-conservative Hagedorn has made news during the campaign for scandalous and hateful writings revealing his bigotry and right-wing ideas.

For more information about Judge Lisa Neubauer.
See comparison with opponent.
Make phone calls from home for Judge Neubauer Read More