STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) - Twenty Wisconsin counties announced early this week their desire to apply for federal Medicaid dollars directly to expand BadgerCare, similar to what happened in one Ohio county.
It’s not going to happen.
Governor Scott Walker says Wisconsin and Ohio have very different circumstances. “They really don’t legally have that option to do that. In our case, for the first time in this state’s history, unlike my predecessor Jim Doyle, I will cover every person living in poverty with Medicaid. In the past, there was a cap which put people on the waiting list. Going forward, everyone living in poverty will be covered under Medicaid.’
Walker believes other Governors are going to look back and wish they had handled the Medicaid expansion dollars under the Affordable Care Act the way Wisconsin did. “Our budget reduces the number of people uninsured while reducing the number on Medicaid by transitioning people into the marketplace, and we think that’s a good option. It’s one of the options that governors across the country will look at and say, if they hadn’t done it, they wish they would have.”
The Governor says the idea of bypassing the state and allowing counties to apply for the federal funding isn’t legal here, and isn’t going to work. “It’s a nice measure to get attention, but it really doesn’t have a practical impact.”
Marathon, Oneida and Lincoln are three of the twenty Wisconsin counties that asked for the demonstration waiver to receive the federal MA dollars.