Governor Walker’s State Health Plan a Failure: Public Interest Groups Highlight Need for Medicaid Expansion in Wisconsin


The Black Health Coalition and Citizens United, along with other public interest groups held a press conference in Milwaukee today to highlight Walker’s already failed health care strategy, as contrasted with the distinct advantages in accepting Obamacare Medicaid Expansion here. Milwaukee County and four other Wisconsin counties already will give their voters an opportunity to weigh in on Medicaid Expansion and Badgercare Expansion in Wisconsin.

20 more counties in the state are considering putting the same referendum on their county ballots this fall. “This gives voters in these counties a chance to send a strong message to their politicians about how they feel about Walker’s decision on Medicaid and Badgercare,” said Robert Craig of Wisconsin Citizens United.

Speakers at the press conference from groups as diverse as those combatting diabetes in the State, supporting pro-active healthcare for women to have better outcomes with breast cancer, and a representative of the American College of Associated Physicians all argued for the Governor’s acceptance of Medicaid Expansion under the Health Care Affordability Act, commonly known as Obamacare. Scott Walker and the Republican majority in the State Legislature have chosen not to accept the money and continue to pursue a State solution crafted by Walker.

Both the Black Health Coalition and Citizens United are non-profit organizations, Craig added, and they only desire the legislature and Governor to do right by those citizens who qualify for aid under Obamacare along with a more sensibly modified Badgercare coverage.

Struggles for Justice notes just two mind blowing dollars and cents facts even the most Obama hating, Tea Party loving, or indifferent Wisconsin citizen ought to pay attention to.

Governor Scott Walker passed a tax bill that gave the average Wisconsin resident taxpayer a much appreciated $110 to $120 tax cut this past year. Yet, by making an affirmative decision NOT to accept Medicaid money under the Health Care Affordability Act, the average taxpayer is paying an average of $250.00 more each year for their private healthcare coverage. In effect, those same people are $130.00 behind the curve AFTER the tax cut provided by Walker and the Wisconsin State Legislature.

With the Medicaid Expansion money, Walker could give all his constituents that benefit on the private insurance market in Wisconsin, yet he hasn’t done that, and to this date has shown no inclination to do it. With more Medicaid money, health insurance premiums under private health plans will drop, and the higher health insurance premium cost largely disappears altogether. There is no ideology here, just the naked self-interest of our State’s taxpayers.

Second, without the Medicaid Expansion money from the Federal Government, that would pick up the cost of all of it to start, and in out years always pays more than the lion’s share of the cost, it makes little sense to continue to refuse the money. It’s the law, and the Federal Government is bound by Obamacare to provide it if a State asks for it. Wisconsin has said NO.

An additional $271 million dollar budget deficit under Walker’s present plan will force the Legislature to either cut another $271 million from an already squeaky tight and inadequate State biennial budget, or to saddle the most tax sensitive, and largely white conservative constituents of Walker, and by extension every Wisconsin taxpayer, to come up with the shortfall.

Why the hell, we say, would even the most mean-spirited, conservative, Obamacare hating voters reject that? It makes no sense at all when viewed from their economic self-interest, or anybody’s self-interest.

We all should remember that Wisconsin has always had a net deficit when it comes to Federal tax money going to Washington, and Federal largesse coming back to Wisconsin. We don’t have any really significant military bases, or beyond the minimum Federal courthouses and Federal agencies present here. As bad as poverty is among the impoverished here, we just don’t get our money’s worth; our share of the Federal Government’s aid we all already have paid for.

For example, Rick Perry’s Texas Miracle is really grounded upon the more than $22 billion Texas gets for its State coffers each and every year through the Federal Government. What if Wisconsin as a smaller per-capita size state got its share of all this? What would say $2 Billion more dollars to spend here do for the biennial State budget, and tax rates? It would be the Wisconsin Miracle.

Alas, our State’s financial and fiscal, or put simply economic profile, does not allow for that. But Medicaid Expansion is something to make up some of what the Federal Government owes us.

NOW THE HUMAN SIDE OF THE EQUATION: To appease the States’ economically compromised citizens and their advocates Walker has extended Badgercare to 82,000 more people. He is to be applauded for that. But wait, to pay for it he is keeping another 77,000 people cut off from State aid, who are living just over the poverty level as single individuals, and making them ineligible for both Medicaid and Badgercare.

These people have no hope of getting significant health insurance on the private market either. People are falling through wide crevices already present in the Governor’s affirmative decision NOT to take the Obamacare Medicaid money that is already ours to take. This is as one speaker said “just insane.” Struggles for Justice couldn’t have put it any better.

Having dozens of Wisconsin Counties hold referenda on the Medicaid Expansion money, and its impact on Badgercare, will send a strong message to all our State’s politicians that a different course from that of the Governor is badly needed.

And it IS badly needed. Tens of thousands and perhaps as many as a hundred thousand Wisconsin residents are receiving badly inadequate health care, leading to equally bad health outcomes. This too, costs the State and our Wisconsin hospitals more money, making it very hard to serve the public, to remain viable in the marketplace, and in the end, increasing rather than decreasing the cost of healthcare in Wisconsin.

We thank the Black Health Coalition and Citizens United, along with so many other groups promoting better healthcare for all our citizens, for what they said at the Black Health Coalition’s jointly held press conference at 3020 Vliet Street today, in Milwaukee.

Struggles for Justice
“Speaking for the Voiceless: Protecting the Vulnerable”

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