20 Wisconsin Counties Ask State For Medicaid Funds


Wisconsin counties are asking the state’s Department of Health Services to take additional federal Medicaid dollars and let counties spend them.

Twenty counties in Wisconsin want the state to follow Ohio’s example, where Governor John Kasich – who is opposed to the Affordable Care Act – has agreed to pass on federal funds to Cuyahoga County. That Ohio County has federal permission to use money for Medicaid expansion under a demonstration project.

Eau Claire County Supervisor Gerald Wilkie says Wisconsin should follow suit. “We want to have our vulnerable citizens have health care, and we want the fiscal benefits of our federal tax dollars that we sent in,” says Wilkie.

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Governor Scott Walker says he had not seen details of the Medicaid demonstration project in Ohio. But if Wisconsin were to pass along federal money to Wisconsin counties, it would go against the administration’s plan to tighten Medicaid eligibility to 100 percent of poverty. For a single adult, that’s about $11,000 dollars in earnings.

“Our goal isn’t to have more people on Medicaid,” says Walker. “Our goal is to cover everyone living in poverty – which we already in this state, per our state budget – and our goal is to transition more people into the [private] marketplace.”

The Walker administration has applied for a federal waiver to expand Medicaid coverage to more childless adults while eliminating slightly higher income people from the program. Critics like Citizen Action of Wisconsin say those people weren’t intended for the federal marketplace known as the exchange, and even with subsidies may not be able to afford premiums and co-pays.