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?