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Robin Vos: Medicaid expansion doesn't represent 'free money'

Robin Vos: Medicaid expansion doesn't represent 'free money'

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Robin Vos

Robin Vos

The state of Wisconsin is taking care of the medical care of our most needy populations. Wisconsin has about one in five people on Medicaid, and when we add the Medicare population, over one-third of the state gets health care from the government. The cost of Medicaid coverage continues to be a large and growing investment out of our state checkbook. In 2013, our state expanded Medicaid coverage to include every single person living in poverty in our state. This move means everyone in Wisconsin has access to health insurance.

Unfortunately Gov. Tony Evers and Democrats are trying to sell Medicaid expansion as “free money” from the federal government but they’re neglecting to tell you the entire story.

What Evers isn’t telling you is that roughly half of the 82,000 people who they want to push on welfare already have insurance on the exchange. The premiums on the exchange can be as low as 18 cents per month. Instead of expanding Medicaid, we should focus on increasing opportunities to connect uninsured individuals to coverage they already can get.

A University of Wisconsin study shows putting more people on government health care will actually drive up costs for Wisconsin and the individuals who are on private insurance. Keep in mind, with Medicaid expansion, we’re taking people off a fully, federally subsidized program onto one that the state will have to pay up to 10 percent of the costs.

I didn’t run for the legislature to vote for the expansion of welfare, especially at a time when we have record unemployment and unfilled jobs. I don’t want more government benefits at a time when we have so much private-sector success. The bottom line is we shouldn’t hurt the private health insurance system, raise health care costs or put taxpayers at risk.

Republican Robin Vos, Rochester, represents the 63rd Assembly District and is Speaker of the Assembly.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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