Evers said in his Feb. 28 budget address: “We need to expand Medicaid … 82,000 more Wisconsinites will have access to affordable, quality healthcare coverage. And because we’re accepting these federal dollars, we have the opportunity to invest in programs that improve healthcare access and affordability across our state.” Republicans say: Everyone at or below federal poverty guidelines is already on Medicaid, so the expansion would expand “welfare.
However, to continue the current Medicaid program with no additional federal dollars, Republicans must find an additional $350 million in state tax dollars.
Wisconsin’s ACA implementation and partial Medicaid expansion have had several positive outcomes:
• According to Census Bureau data, Wisconsin continued to have one of the 10 lowest uninsured rates in
2016 (tied with West Virginia for 9th, although that was a drop from 6th lowest in 2013).
• The number of uninsured Wisconsinites declined by 42 percent from 2013 to 2016.
• Uncompensated care in Wisconsin hospitals fell by nearly 37 percent during that period, which was
comparable to the decline in other states.
However, when one considers how Wisconsin compares to the expansion states and what happened to
parents who lost their BadgerCare eligibility in 2014, the Wisconsin record loses some of its luster:
• If Wisconsin were to fully expand Medicaid, more than 80,000 adults between 100 and 138 percent of
FPL would be covered in BadgerCare, and that change would yield a net savings for state taxpayers of
about $190 million per year.
• Wisconsin’s 42 percent decline in the number of people who are uninsured is 5 percentage points behind
the average improvement in the 31 expansion states, and 5 to 9 percentage points behind each of
Wisconsin’s neighbors (all of which are expansion states).
• Four Medicaid expansion states that had higher uninsured rates than Wisconsin in 2013 caught up to or
surpassed Wisconsin by 2016 (Connecticut, Kentucky, Rhode Island and West Virginia).
• More than 62,000 adults lost their BadgerCare eligibility in 2014, and a study by the Department of
Health Services could only show that 58 percent of them obtained other insurance coverage (or regained
BadgerCare coverage). Most of the rest are presumably uninsured.
• Wisconsin went from having the 12th lowest rate of uninsured children in 2013 to a tie for 20th lowest
in 2016, because states that expanded Medicaid coverage for parents found that there was increased
Medicaid participation among kids who were already eligible.
We NEED Medicaid Expansion.