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State Should Discuss Federal Medicaid Bucks, Says GOP Finance Vice Chair

Opposition From Walker Still A Big Hurdle

Republican state Senator Luther Olsen, Co-chair of the Blue Ribbon Commission. Shawn Johnson/WPR News

A Republican lawmaker on the state’s budget-writing committee said no stone should be left unturned to fund expenses in the upcoming budget. That could include accepting federal Medicaid money.

Republican Sen. Luther Olsen of Ripon said his caucus will likely discuss accepting federal dollars under the Affordable Care Act but he said the chances of Wisconsin actually taking the Medicaid expansion money are slim.

“I think that would be very hard to get that done because the governor’s not interested,” he said.

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Several Republican-led states also opposed to the Affordable Care Act have decided to take the Medicaid expansion money. As vice chair of the Joint Finance Committee, Olsen noted when Wisconsin turned down the money two years ago, the state’s finances were in better shape.

“I’m not proposing we do it, but I just think we have to look at everything,” he said.

Accepting federal expansion money would bring in an extra $300 million for the state’s BadgerCare program over two years.