October 20, 2014

State loses out by not expanding BadgerCare

Robert Kraig

Robert Kraig

Are health insurance rates in Wisconsin higher than necessary? If they are, one groups argues it could be because of Governor Scott Walker’s decision not to accept a full expansion of federal funding for BadgerCare.

Robert Kraig is with Citizen Action of Wisconsin, which released a report showing Wisconsin insurance rates average $250 more per year because of Walker’s decision. “What this data found is that, not only turning down the Medicaid money had no impact on people on Medicaid, on BadgerCare, it impacted all people in terms of their insurance rates,” Kraig said. “For not taking the Medicaid money, it was over $250 a year for every person. And that comes out of the general economy and out of peoples family budgets.”

Walker continues to maintain that he’s protecting taxpayers – because the federal government can’t be counted on to keep Medicaid funded in the long term. “The reality is, anyone who’s counting on the federal government to come through with funding, here or anywhere else across the country is living in a alternative universe, because this is a federal government that’s already $17 trillion in the hole,” said Walker. “They’ve reneged on Medicaid and other promises in the past. I’ve every reason to believe based on the past record, the federal government will renege again, so I didn’t want the taxpayers of this state to be on the hook.

A Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimate also doesn’t come up in the governor’s favor – the agency found the state could have saved more than $500 million over three and a-half years, and served some 87,000 more adults a month under BadgerCare Plus.