Assembly Democrats held a brief press conference, prior to the non-event that was Tuesday’s special session of the Legislature.
Governor Tony Evers’ wanted the Legislature to expand BadgerCare and get some $1.5 billion in federal aid for Wisconsin.
“It doesn’t make sense to have Wisconsinites suffer, and be unhealthy, when this money is available,” said Representative Beth Meyers (D-Bayfield.)
Minority Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) noted the federal money would go towards projects around the state.
“I want this project funded in my region or my district. I want the people in my district to have low-income health insurance,” Hintz said.
As expected, Senate and Assembly Republicans quickly gaveled in and out without voting.
“To say that the decision by Republicans in the legislature is a missed opportunity, doesn’t even come close,” Evers said in Green Bay, where he held a press conference to promote the special session – and some of the projects he said could be covered with the money from the Federal government as a result of expanding BadgerCare – including moving coal piles and constructing a Green Bay visitor’s center.
“It was clear right from the get go, they said no way,” the governor said. “Robin Vos said no way right from the beginning around BadgerCare, when we put it together with a lot of good projects like this, they said no way.”
The Democratic governor lamented a lack of compromise but admitted he’s had no direct meetings with Republican leaders to negotiate.
Republican legislative leaders have spelled out their objections to expanding BadgerCare.
In a letter to Evers, they cited additional costs to the state in broadening eligibility for the program. The leaders also argue there is no coverage gap in Wisconsin because the federal exchanges allow people between 100 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level to get subsidized health coverage.
“By adding childless, working-aged adults earning up to 138 percent of the FPL to Medicaid, who are eligible for significant assistance on the federal exchange, state taxpayers would be responsible for covering some of the extra costs,” they wrote. “However, when someone in that group enrolls on the exchanges using subsidies which are 100 percent federally funded, there is no cost passed on to state taxpayers.”