April is Medicaid Awareness month. Across the country, 38 states and the District of Columbia had reason to be grateful, as each of them expanded Medicaid since passage of the Affordable Care Act. But not Wisconsin.
Since the expansion was made available more than eight years ago, Wisconsin Republicans have refused the deal that all of those other states — red, blue, and purple ones too — have all taken.
That deal? Expand the eligibility requirements of the program and the federal government will reimburse your Medicaid expenses at a higher rate.
As a result, the state of Wisconsin pays more than it has to in order to provide health care to its more vulnerable citizens. Put another way, Wisconsin’s insistence on paying more means the very tax dollars that its residents send to the federal government are being used to subsidize health care costs in those other states.
It’s a bad deal that defies common sense. In 2021-2022 alone this intransigence by Wisconsin Republicans will cost the state more than $1 billion. Last year, Democratic Governor Tony Evers called a special session of the Legislature to finally accept the expansion, with a new twist.
Evers laid out exactly where the $1 billion in new money from the federal government would be spent. Wisconsin Republicans still said no. Not just “no” to expanding health care, but “no” to;
- $200 million to expand broadband internet
- $100 million to replace lead pipes
- $100 million to fix roads and bridges
- Funds for more than a dozen needed construction projects supported by Republicans
In an event last week hosted by Protect Our Care, legislators Greta Neubauer (D – Racine) and Kristina Shelton (D – Green Bay) urged their Republican colleagues to rethink their opposition on behalf of the Wisconsinites forced to make unimaginable choices in order to afford health care.
One of those Wisconsinites joined them for the conversation, which focused on the importance of access to care along with the hundreds of millions of dollars Wisconsin Republicans have left on the table through their opposition.
During the event, that Wisconsinite, Peggy from Tomahawk, summed up Republican opposition as well as anyone has over the last eight years.
“It’s just stupid.”
To learn more about Medicaid, visit www.medicaidawareness.com.
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