Even though Governor Scott Walker rejected federal money to expand Wisconsin’s Medicaid programs earlier this year, several county leaders say the state could still allow them to claim some of those dollars.
A group of officials from 20 counties have signed on to a letter to the state Department of Health Services which asks the state to grant them the ability to accept the money instead. Robert Kraig with Citizen Action of Wisconsin says the approach would have the state serving as a pass through for enhanced Medicaid funds.
AUDIO: Robert Kraig (:16)
A similar plan was recently approved in Ohio’s Cuyahoga County, even though the state as a whole also rejected federal money for a Medicaid expansion.
Without the extra funding, county leaders worry too many people living just above the federal poverty line will be unable to afford health care coverage through the exchange system.
While the Department has not yet received the letter, DHS Secretary Kitty Rhoades said in a statement Tuesday that “The Department’s focus is on reducing the number of uninsured in Wisconsin by nearly 50 percent, not on debating the policy decisions that are now law. We have an aggressive timeline in place to implement the Governor’s plan. Our priority is on ensuring that the entities who are assisting Wisconsin individuals and families enroll in the appropriate public or private health care coverage are prepared to do so.”
Rhoades also urged those who signed on to the letter to work with the state towards a shared goal of ensuring that Wisconsinites have access to health care coverage.