WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSAU) - Was it a good idea for Governor Scott Walker to turn down federal money to expand Medicaid? It depends on who you ask. 3rd District Congressman Ron Kind believes the Governor made an expensive mistake that will harm businesses and health care providers.
The La Crosse Democrat quotes a Jackson-Hewitt Tax Service study that finds Governor Walker’s decision will cost small businesses millions of dollars. “It will cost small businesses throughout Wisconsin approximately 36 million dollars because of the Governor’s rejection of the Medicaid offer, which is unfortunate because it is all paid for.”
Kind believes Walker’s ideology kept him from doing what’s right for Wisconsin taxpayers. “Instead of insuring 175 thousand Wisconsin residents, and also creating about 11 thousand jobs, I think the Governor for mainly political partisan reasons (is) rejecting this offer being made. Unfortunately, it will be the businesses and taxpayers of Wisconsin that will be paying more.”
Republicans and Democrats don’t see eye to eye on expanding Medicaid with the federal funding. Republicans see this as increased government spending and increased government involvement in health care. Democrats like Kind believe the Affordable Health Care Act funding won’t hurt the deficit. “Either you take the offer being made, which is all paid for. Now the Affordable Care Act, the Health Care Reform Bill was all paid for through spending reductions and new revenue so we don’t add a nickel to the deficit. The Governor rejecting this money doesn’t mean it’s not going to be spent, it will just be spent in other states.”
Doctors and hospitals lose millions of dollars in uncompensated free care every year, and Kind says most support accepting the federal expansion of Medicaid dollars to cut some of those losses. “They’re saying listen, if we have an opportunity to extend healthcare coverage to people who are uninsured, that means they won’t have to swallow the uncompensated care when it walks through their door.”
The Congressman says it’s not too late for Governor Walker to follow the lead of other Republican Governors that have accepted the dollars, but the longer he waits, the more likely it is those funds will go to other states.