New Marquette Law School Poll, History Of String Cheese, Who’s On Medicaid

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Medicaid covers health insurance for one in five Americans, and a new report looks into just who those people are. A journalist helps us understand the demographics and backgrounds of those making up the Medicaid program. We also hear how Baker’s Cheese, in St. Cloud, WI, helped pioneer the craft of making string cheese. Plus, a new Marquette Law School Poll gives us a window into how Wisconsinites are feeling about state and national politics.

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    Six in 10 of the people on Medicaid, the nationwide health care program for low-income Americans, are working adults.

    Donna Rosato said this statistic addresses one of the stereotypes of people who are on Medicaid: that they don’t have a job. She’s a senior editor at Consumer Reports and often writes about health care costs.

    “The majority of people on Medicaid have a full-time job,” Rosato said.

    She added that people aren’t on Medicaid just because they’re low-income. One of the reasons people might be low-income is because they have a disease, disability or chronic health condition that doesn’t allow them to work, or that forces them to cycle in and out of the workforce.

    The U.S. Senate Republicans’ version of the new health care law would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Rosato said the current bill would do two things: get rid of federal money to states who have expanded Medicaid and greatly change the Medicaid program.

    Rosato said the bill would cap the amount of funding states would get for Medicaid and the amount they would get would increase much more slowly than it does in the current program.

    “The estimates are that funding for Medicaid within 10 years would be cut in half between what the Senate is proposing as well as proposed budget cuts by the Trump administration,” Rosato said.

    She added that of the 22 million people who have been projected to lose health insurance by 2026 under the Senate bill, 15 million people on Medicaid will lose health insurance in 10 years.

    Rosato said when Medicaid funding is capped, there will still be funds available. But it would be on the states to make some hard decisions.

    “One of the things states could do is dip into their budget and take money from other areas right now, maybe infrastructure or spending, and add it to make up for the funds they may no longer be getting from the federal government,” Rosato said.

    She said some states have asked to impose limits on eligibility — for example, only allowing someone to be on Medicaid for five years before being taken off the program. Another option states have is to limit the amount of kind of services they provide under Medicaid.

    “At the end of the day, people want their residents to be covered, but when you only have so much money to go around, you have to figure out some way to deliver services,” she said.

Episode Credits

  • Judith Siers-Poisson Host
  • Amanda Magnus Producer
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Charles Franklin Guest
  • Dan Higgins Guest
  • Donna Rosato Guest