October 21, 2014

No decision on Medicaid expansion

The governor has not made a decision about an expansion of Medicaid services as part of the federal healthcare law, according to state Health Secretary Dennis Smith.

Smith told reporters a decision on Medicaid expansion will be in the governor’s budget, expected early next year. He said there’s still a lot of uncertainty as required changes to Medicaid eligibility and the implementation of health insurance exchanges are just months away.

Smith didn’t have a cost estimate, but he said changes would be costly. “The math just is not gonna work out.”

Under ObamaCare, Smith said Wisconsin taxpayers will pay more for healthcare programs for Wisconsin’s poor — more than the law will save. “Medicaid is unsustainable without reform; without reform states really cannot expand.”

Smith said it’s unfortunate the federal government has taken a hard line, saying it’s “all or nothing.”

Smith is expected to testify before a U.S. health subcommittee Thursday about the uncertainty of Medicaid expansion and healthcare exchanges as required under ObamaCare.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:20