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Gov. Scott Walker

Gov. Scott Walker

MADISON — Gov. Scott Walker announced Wednesday that he won't propose expanding Medicaid services in Wisconsin, breaking with other Republican governors who decided to accept federal money for an expansion as offered under the health care overhaul law.

Instead, Walker outlined a hybrid approach that involves tightening income eligibility for Medicaid, lifting a cap on a program that covers childless adults and forcing more people to buy insurance through a government-run marketplace known as an exchange.

Walker, who unveiled the plan at a meeting of the state chamber of commerce, said the net result would drop the state's share of uninsured non-elderly adults from 14 percent to just 7 percent — about the level seen as likely under the Medicaid expansion.

"I want to have fewer people in the state who are uninsured, but along with that I'd like to have fewer people in the state who are dependent on government," Walker said in describing his plan.

The decision is a blow to Democrats, health care advocacy groups and others, including Wisconsin hospitals, who had urged Walker to take the expansion and the billions of dollars in federal money that would come with it. Walker said he would be spending $644 million more on state Medicaid programs over the next two years under his plan.

"I'm not certain what Gov. Walker is trying to prove," said Democratic state Sen. Jon Erpenbach. "If we do not take this money, it's going to go to other states."

Had Walker accepted the expansion, the federal government would have picked up the cost for three years. But Walker and other Republicans have raised concerns that the state's share would escalate over time.

Walker has been an outspoken opponent of the health care overhaul law, and Wednesday's announcement was in line with his previous decision not to create a state-run marketplace for insurance providers, instead letting the federal government do it.

His plan won the support of Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who called it a "good hybrid" that reaffirms Medicaid as a program that takes care of the state's poorest residents, while getting others to buy insurance through the exchange.

So far, six Republican governors have agreed to the Medicaid expansion, while fourteen have turned it down.

Nationally, 19 states plus the District of Columbia appear to be on track to expand their Medicaid programs, although some governors are encountering opposition from their state legislators. Another 17 are weighing their decision.

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(26) comments

CelticMan

I'll pay for the recall, if the Walker supporters will pay for all the stupid decisions made by this tool.

Sarah23

Go out to Woodmans on any Friday night and you will see many hispanics with ebt cards. I'm assuming that they also get BadgerCare. Yet, we can't take care of our own people. Our citizens waiting to get into a warming house; you'll never see a hispanic person waiting to get into a warming house. I'll never understand why the government rewards illegal aliens crossing our border/s by giving them free services; free education, free food, free housing, free health care...yet, we can't take care of our own people and are trillions in debt. We are giving them an incentive to cross our borders illegally because they know they will be taken care of. And this is not about race, but about fairness.

quimby

It is about race if we assume that all Hispanics are here illegally.

Richy

Programs! Programs! Programs! I just want to be left alone. Yes we need this we need that we need more and more and more garbage they feed us, What we need is to fire them all. I don't get it,paying others to make decisions for you? The real educated people like scientist and doctors mathematicians should be running this country not people who run their mouths for a living! like grandma Pelosi OMG what a Psycho.

quimby

I do agree with the second portion of your statement. More scientists, economists, doctors, mathematicians, etc and fewer Pelosis. We need more elected officials who value evidence rather than ideologies...both parties.

Richy

I get nothing from government but bills. I do not get my power from them,I do not get my food from them,I do not get my health care from them, I do not get my home repairs,water,clothes,auto,from them I do not get my job from them and pay my own family's health insurance and have from the day i was able to pay them taxes, I don't plan on getting any social security. Just what do you people see the need for government to cradle you to the grave, Keep crying for handouts your whole life! This is why this country has so much debt because of programs that don't even need to exist and i am not talking about programs to help the poor. When you look around a city do you think it was all built by Government and your food and gas comes from them? You would think so the way you all act and kneel down before their throne. SHEEP!

spirit3

Ricky, funny if something catastrophic happens to you...you will be first in line for help. That I can trust.

quimby

Police, fire department, streets, street lights, bridges, dams, standards for food at grocery stores and restaurants, national guard, national military, control of diseases, assisting disabled and elderly populations, education, innovations that have resulted from government funding....you're right. It's only moochers who rely on government. Isn't it up to 47% now?

Richy

No quimby we the people build the dams and bridges it is our money that builds them like everything they just take it and decide how to spend it.

quimby

I object to the notion that the government is inherently inefficient or incapable of providing for its citizens in certain circumstances. I believe many people fail to grasp the benefits that the government affords every individual in this country. There are shortcomings in private markets. Milton Friedman, one of the founders of the Libertarian movement, recognized the importance of government oversight in certain circumstances including most roads, bridges, and dams. I would argue that there are plenty more beneficial applications of government involvement. Take for instance healthcare. It is difficult to say who has the "best" healthcare since there are many quality measures. But it is clear that the US is in the middle or bottom tier of all industrialized nations, nearly all of whom provide some form of universal care at a lower cost. Privatized health care is unfair and inaccessible for a great number of citizens, and therefore government intervention is appropriate.

takka

Scooter is a moron. Wake up people. I can't wait to see him in shackles!! That would be a great day!!

realitycheck

Thank you Scott, the nonsense has to stop somewhere. We have to stop the free handouts and actually encourage people to earn a living. What a great day for the working person!

lefse

When people get their bills for Obamacare Premiums for a lousy bronze policy with high deductibles and huge copays, they are going into shock. And, it will hit those in the $40,000 bracket (2 people working) the very hardest. Meanwhile, their next door neighbor who is not working will get free medicaid, including for dental and hearing which the bronze plan will not cover. And for those people where say each person in a marriage earns $40,000 per year or $80,000 total, their bill for a family of four will be $20,000 with NO subsidy. And we want to expand medicaid.

There is going to be shock and awe come this fall when people find out what they are going to have to pay.

spirit3

Medicare does not cover, dental, hearing or eye exams. Yes the cost for insurance might be bad in Wisconsin because Walker turn that down to...as for the others things you talk about...you sure are guessing...read the plan because your guest-imates are wrong.

quimby

His reasoning and actions appear to contradict one another. Walker says that he would "like to have fewer people in the state who are dependent on government." Yet at the same time he will subsidize health insurance for those same individuals to purchase private insurance through the federal market. There is still some dependence on the government when you provide subsidies. Additionally, the cost of private insurance is typically higher than the cost of Medicaid and Medicare. So to insure the same number of individuals we will either need to pay more for subsidies than we would have in a Medicaid expansion (not to mention that the federal government would have paid nearly all of these costs) or the people receiving subsidies will be forced to pay premiums they may find difficult to afford. Walker's actions concerning Medicaid expansion were in line with his own ideologies rather than the interests of Wisconsin residents, a trend we have seen too often from this governor.

RINO Cowboy

It's simple - he is an idiot

spirit3

Walker is proposing tightening the threshold for Medicaid eligibility for adults to $11,490 for individuals and $15,510 for couples. That is 100 percent of the federal poverty level. Under the federal law, Medicaid coverage would be available for an individual earning up to $15,414 and $20,628 for a couple. The waiting list now for Badger Care has plus 87,000. Premiums for health insurance for a single person through walkers plan are $645 a month with a $5000 deductible...I cannot afford that...nice to know that those who do have health insurance and seek medical service will be paying more, while grandma and grandpa are subjected to death panels via Walker

Anonangel

So less people will die, a good thing. But no one should die because they cant afford insurance. It isnt always about YOU, we need to take care of our fellow man. Im sure he goes to church every sunday, dont get me started on that.

Pete_ce

The money has already been allocated. Wisconsinites have already paid into the Health Care reforms thru Federal taxes. We had a chance to get Billions of dollars of that Fed Tax money back . . . now OUR money will be allocated to other states. Not only do we not have the money, but it will be allocated by the Feds exchange, since Walker has already turned down the right to run our own exhange.
---Do any of you really think our Federal Taxes will be reduced because we turned down Billions of dollars for medicaid?
--You are correct, I don't know how Immigration Reform will pan out, however, the Fed was going to dole out 100% of Medicaid money (for 3 years) and 90% after that. Wisconsinites will now be responsible to foot the whole bill.
--Whether "Walkers Plan" or "Medicaid Expansion", someone is going to have to pay for it . . . looks like Walker is telling us that Wisconsin will foot the entire bill.
YIKES . . . what a putz.

deezus

This is likely a smart move by Walker. After millions of illegal aliens are granted amnesty, our health care system will be overrun, and the states that signed up for this expansion will get creamed by exploding costs. Not to mention the cost explosion ObamaCare itself creates. The Federal government has to borrow all of this medicaid expansion money to dole out to the states, digging the debt hole deeper and deeper.

Nugget

You're as stupid as Walker. The Affordable Care Act is already leveling healthcare costs across the nation. http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/02/12/new-data-suggests-obamacare-is-actually-bending-the-healthcare-cost-curve/

quimby

Immigrants granted amnesty who would be covered under an expanded Medicaid would also be eligible for the state subsidy. The difference? The federal government would pick up nearly all of the costs for an expanded Medicaid program. The citizens of Wisconsin will foot the whole bill for any additional subsidies while simultaneously contributing to the federal revenues that will be distributed to the states who choose to expand their Medicaid programs. Not a smart move.

spirit3

Amnesty does not make on a citizen of the US, only citizens of the US will be covered under Obama care.

Pete_ce

OMG . . . What a putz!
What a moron!
A chance to help 162,000 Wisconsinites and num-nuts says "NO".
How can any Wisconsinite support this idiot?

lookout

Walker needs a petition against for him, He once again went against a Federal mandate. He needs the petition to take his healthcare away from him and his family. Then he can be like most people in Wisconsin.

deezus

Most people in Wisconsin pay for their own insurance with their employer. Only 14 percent are uninsured. So why would you start a petition to force Walker and his family to be uninsured? You make no sense.

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