Journal Sentinel Rips Walker Medicaid Funding FUBAR
The Journal Sentinel, in a very strong condemnation, says online tonight for tomorrow's editorial page that Gov. Walker's refusal of federal Medicaid funding was wrongly "[D]driven by ideology and Republican politics..."
Gov. Scott Walker likes to brag about how much he has saved Wisconsin taxpayers during his first term in office, but here's something those taxpayers should know: Walker has cost them millions of dollars by refusing to fully expand the state's primary health care program for the poor under the Affordable Care Act.
Wisconsin would have saved $206 million over two years if the Walker administration had chosen to accept a full expansion of federal funding for BadgerCare, according to a new nonpartisan report. The state could have saved more than $500 million over 31/2 years, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates, and about 87,000 more adults a month would have been served under BadgerCare Plus...
Walker's decision to reject the additional federal money and forswear a state-run Obamacare exchange (another mistake) came as Republicans pressed their case against the Affordable Care Act nationwide. It was another example of this governor's penchant for sacrificing good policy on the altar of expedient politics.* A year and a half, I wrote:
Under Walker's Medicaid 'Policy,' Distance From Obama Is Priority #1* In April, I'd praised Washington, DC-based columnist Bill Kaplan for his trenchant analysis of Walker's terrible move. Wrote Kaplan:
Walker's "plan" is throwing nearly 80,000 Wisconsinites off Medicaid, and with the help of a letter and a phone call, telling them to find their way to the federal exchange. Many will enroll and be eligible for ACA federal tax credits, thanks to the heroic efforts of groups like the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families. But Sen. Baldwin rightly said rejecting federal Medicaid funds will result in higher state spending, burden the poor with out-of-pocket costs, many of whom will fall between the cracks, risking worse health outcomes...
When Ohio GOP Gov. John Kasich expanded Medicaid he got emotional talking about helping the disabled, poor and sick. Not Walker. It's all about his political ambitions and pleasing the Tea Party. Wisconsin is being left behind in the dust.* I'd added Wrong-Way Walker's callous disregard for the health of thousands of the poorest residents of our state to a summary piece I reposted Saturday as a continuing update that archives the worst of his most-damaging decisions:
If you are a low-income wage earner making just above the poverty line, Walker made things more difficult for you by turning down no-cost federal funding to help maintain your BadgerCare health insurance.
Walker told you and about 80,000 others in Wisconsin, 'Hey, you're free to find new doctors and perhaps a more costly program via the federal website.'
And tough luck if you fall between the cracks or into ill health while chasing after care like you already had.* On Sunday, I wrote about his fake, damaging fiscal conservatism:
If he was your accountant, you'd fire him.
If he's the Governor, you defeat him over scandalous ideological behavior that has kept poor people at risk without medical care and sabotaged the state's finances:* This morning, I'd added about this:
...his message is continually misleading, since in what universe do... "right direction" and "37th place" in job creation work together?
Or "fiscal conservatism" and "$500 million" lost?
There is a distinct difference between fiscal conservatism, which is ideologically based, seeking to punish sectors of society by denying services, and fiscal responsibility. I hear too many Democratic candidates trying to gain credibility with 'moderate' voters by calling themselves fiscally conservative, which confuses the issue. The key problem with the current Republican party isn't their conservatism, but their irresponsibility, if not outright corruption, in the handling public funds.
It's a shame that the Journal Sentinel doesn't post all of the financial misery that Walker is responsible for. Politifact acknowledges that the 250,000 public employees took it in the shorts to the tune of $3 billion. That's money that was taken out of the economy. No wonder even though Wisconsin is open for business...there is no business because there cannot be demand when the consumer has no money. Walker borrowed $991 million for transportation and the 2013-2015 transportation fund already has a $700 million shortfall. WEDC, his signature agency has used $975 million to create at most 6,000 jobs! Add to this the $810 million he turned back for high speed rail and it appears Wisconsin cannot afford 4 more years of Scott Walker. Not to mention that he has not been paying debt as it came due but refinanced it at higher interest and kicked the debt down the road to another administration and another generation. Walker is driving Wisconsin over a cliff and he's banking on most of us not see it coming.
@Anon Aug 20, 8:29 a.m.
Your post would make a great campaign ad for Mary Burke. Will you send it to her?
A little late to the table, J-S, but thanks for showing up.
I fully expect a walk-back in a day or two. This doesn't toe the appropriate line.
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