Rejection Of Medicaid Expansion Evokes Mixed Reactions

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Governor Scott Walker says he is pleased the Joint Finance Committee approved a rejection of federal Medicaid expansion dollars.

But critics say the move will leave thousands of people without health care in Wisconsin.

The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau found that rejecting the funds could leave up to 90,000 people without access to BadgerCare. With the rejection, only those making around $11,500 or less annually would qualify. Governor Scott Walker says people who are not covered can turn to the new health care exchanges or purchase private insurance.

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Citizen Action of Wisconsin executive director Robert Kraig says it’s morally irresponsible to turn down the funds.

Under Walker’s plan, $30 million in state money, plus federal funds, would go towards compensating hospitals to treat uninsured patients.

“They are admitting there’s going to be a lot more uncompensated care because of Governor Walker’s proposal. We actually don’t even think that’s enough money to cover what the impact on hospitals will be, but at least it gives them some additional money.”

At a stop in Eau Claire today, Governor Walker said the federal government does not have the money to cover the Affordable Care Act, let alone a Medicaid expansion in Wisconsin.

“We want to make sure that as that’s being implemented, that we provide as many protections as possible to ensure that there aren’t gaps along the way. But betting on money that the federal government can’t provide today would just be becoming a participant in an already failed project.”

There is no deadline for states to accept the Medicaid expansion.

Check out federal Medicaid poverty guidelines here.

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