Wisconsin counties could side-step the state government to claim federal Medicaid dollars, under a bill being introduced at the Capitol.
The proposal from state Representative Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) would allow counties to accept the Medicaid expansion funding Governor Scott Walker and Republicans rejected earlier this year. Counties could then use that money to offer more coverage to their low-income residents.
Counties would have to pass a resolution indicating they want to seek the federal dollars. The state Department of Health Services would then be required to help them file for a waiver that would allow them to take the dollars in. Such resolutions have already been passed by 18 county boards in the state.
The bill is not likely to gain much traction in the Republican-controlled Legislature this session. GOP lawmakers have frequently rejected efforts by Democrats to take up proposals that would require the state to accept federal funding to expand Wisconsin’s BadgerCare and other public health assistance programs.