Walker Says No to Federal Medicaid Expansion
Instead Walker announced a hybrid approach he says will drop the state's uninsured non-elderly adults from 14 percent to 7 percent. Video by nbc26.comvideo
Governor Scott Walker says he won't expand Medicaid in Wisconsin with funds from the federal government. Instead, the governor plans on tightening income elegibility for Medicaid and lifting the cap on a program that covers childless adults.
Governor Walker says the limited expansion would insure an additional 224,000 people in our state, creating more spots under BadgerCare. But those who have been on the waiting list for years, feel taking the federal money would be a better safety net.
"It's just a daily thing that I'm hoping my health holds out," Diane Escher said.
Escher a breast cancer survivor, is number 58,603 on the waiting list for BadgerCare. She wishes Medicaid was expanded.
"That is money that we're all paying for," Escher said. "It's a federally funded amount of money, so we're still going to be paying for that federal money."
But Governor Walker and republicans believe it would cost the state a lot more. The federal government pays for the expansion for three years. After that, payments reduce over time to about 90%.
"It's a big problem. You have a whole set of additional regulations and costs that we would be on the hook for," Republican Representative Andre Jacque said.
In Outagamie County about 7,000 people are affected.
"They'll have to go someplace else. They'll have to rely more on county services, which means they'll rely more on property taxes. That's not good," Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson said.
Meanwhile Escher hopes her wait will soon be over.
"It would be such a blessing to get health care," Escher said.
So far six republican governors nationally have agreed to accept funding for Medicaid expansion. A dozen republican governors, including Walker, now have said no to the money.