Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion would have saved Wis­con­sin $206 mil­lion: re­port

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS -

Wis­con­sin Democrats are keep­ing the pres­sure on Repub­li­can Gov. Scott Walker to ex­pand Med­i­caid el­i­gi­bil­ity with a re­port that shows the move would save the state hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars over the next three years.

Un­der the new fed­eral health­care law, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment would pay the full cost through 2016 of ex­pand­ing Med­i­caid to all adults earn­ing 138% of the fed­eral poverty level or less. Fed­eral cov­er­age would de­crease an­nu­ally af­ter that be­fore set­tling at 90% in 2020.

The in­flux of fed­eral aid would have saved Wis­con­sin $206 mil­lion in the cur­rent two-year bud­get if it had ex­panded Med­i­caid, the non­par­ti­san Wis­con­sin Leg­isla­tive Fis­cal Bureau said in a memo pre­pared at the re­quest of state Sen. Jen­nifer Shilling, a Demo­crat. If Walker agrees to the ex­pan­sion in the 2015-17 state bud­get, the move would save the state between $261 mil­lion and $315 mil­lion de­pend­ing on en­roll­ment, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Walker has de­fended his de­ci­sion not to sup­port full Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion, say­ing he doubts the fed­eral gov­ern­ment would honor its com­mit­ment to cover the costs. The gover­nor’s spokes­woman, Laurel Pa­trick, said in an email that if any­one thinks the debt-sad­dled fed­eral gov­ern­ment won’t re­nege on its prom­ises, “They are not liv­ing in re­al­ity.”

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