Democrats Push For State To Request Federal Waiver For Medicaid Funds

Iowa Used Similar Strategy For Medicaid Expansion

Gage Skidmore (CC-BY-NC-SA)

Democrats are pushing for Republicans to expand Medicaid using federal money through a waiver, the same the way Iowa recently did, pointing to the state’s projected $2 billion shortfall.

Rep. Dan Riemer, D-Milwaukee, said taking federal expansion money would save millions over the next two years, according to a Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimate.

“It would be a big win for everyone in the state of Wisconsin because the state would save over $240 million,” said Riemer.

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A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said they are reviewing the Bureau estimate, along with the bill being circulated by Democrats.

The bill by Riemer and Sen. Jon Erpenbach requires the Health Services Department to request a federal waiver, as Iowa did in 2013. But instead of using the money to put more people on Medicaid, the Republican governor of that state, Terry Branstad, used the money to increase health care subsidies for those just above the poverty line.