According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, in May 2021, Wisconsin’s budget committee voted to turn down the opportunity to expand the state’s Medicaid program. In Wisconsin, we call Medicare “Badger Care.” By turning this down, the legislature eliminated the opportunity to expand coverage to more Wisconsin residents. In addition, Wisconsin forfeited the federal dollars that come with Medicaid expansion, estimated to be $1.3 billion in federal FUNDING FOR WISCONSIN HEALTH CARE.
This works out to $220 per man, woman and child in Wisconsin. This money was paid by Wisconsin workers and now has been sent to other states. Governor Evers supported this expansion of Medicaid.
This is a loss to the people of Wisconsin and their families, the business community, health care providers, and the health of Wisconsinites.
In Pierce County, December 2021, there are 6,348 people who are enrolled in Badger Care Plus, 2,560 are children. If we had accepted the Medicaid expansion, it is estimated that an additional 630 Pierce County residents, (friends, family, and neighbors) would be covered. If you’re not on Medicare, you probably know someone who is, or know someone in a nursing home who almost certainly is supported by Medicare.
In St. Croix County, December 2021, there are 9,223 people who are enrolled in Badger Care Plus, 3,598 are children. Accepting Medicaid expansion would add an estimated 916 recipients.
For the state of Wisconsin, we would add an estimated 126,000 recipients of Medicaid if we accepted Medicaid expansion.
The effect of not providing this coverage for health Care is felt by the individuals who do not receive care, nursing homes who are not paid, hospitals who treat people in emergency rooms and do not get paid. Nursing homes and hospitals not getting paid can result in closure and a very real loss to everyone.
38 states and Washington D.C. have agreed to accept the Medicaid expansion. Wisconsin is among the 12 states who have not accepted it.
This action by the Wisconsin Budget Committee negatively affects the lives of all residents of Wisconsin. Accepting Medicaid expansion will improve the health of low-income families and individuals, help hospitals, nursing homes, and doctors to be paid for services provided. The expansion is paid for by the Federal Government. The money is there, waiting for us to accept it, like 38 other states have done. We are saying “no thanks” to $1.3 billion in 2022.
We deserve better from our legislature.