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Governor visits Waupaca

Evers still seeks to expand Medicaid

By Robert Cloud

Gov. Tony Evers

Gov. Tony Evers visited Waupaca Tuesday, May 14, and spoke about his efforts to expand Medicaid coverage in Wisconsin.

Republicans on the state Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted on May 9 against the expansion.

However, Evers remains optimistic the state budget will include the nearly $2.6 billion in additional federal revenues Medicaid expansion would bring to Wisconsin.

“Just because something is taken out (of the state budget) doesn’t mean it can’t be put back in,” Evers said.

Evers said he hopes voters will call their state legislators to let them know where they stand on the issue of Medicaid expansion.

“We’re hoping rank-and-file Republicans in the legislature will listen to their constituents,” he said.

Evers believes the majority of Wisconsin residents support Medicaid expansion.

“That’s what we ran on last November and that’s what people confirmed in our listening sessions,” Evers said.

He also noted a recent Marquette Law School indicated 70% percent support Medicaid expansion.

“It’s our money,” Evers said. “That’s the bottom line. If it doesn’t come here, our state’s taxpayers are sending their money elsewhere.”

Medicaid savings
Evers explained that federal reimbursement would rise from 56% to 90% for Medicaid costs in Wisconsin.

Medicaid expansion plus the new initiatives will allow Wisconsin to draw down $1.6 billion in new federal funding.

When these new initiatives are combined with all other investments for Department of Health Services programs, the budget provides a total of $2.6 billion in new funding.

“The vast majority is federal funding,” Evers said, regarding the source of additional revenues.

Annual income eligibility for Meidcaid would increase from 100% to 138% of the poverty level.

That means a family of four would qualify for Medicaid with an income of $35,535, up from $25,750.

Eligible income for a single person would rise from $12,490 to $17,236.

In Wisconsin, 1.1 million residents rely on Medicaid for health care.

Expansion would provide coverage for an additional 82,000 people.

Waupaca County would also receive an additional $20 million in revenues toward health care.

Of that amount, $5.9 million would go to expanding Medicaid coverage to an additional 630 Waupaca County residents.

$10.3 million would increase funding for current Medicaid, BadgerCare Plus, SeniorCare and FoodShare Employment and Training program members.

Funds would also be available for hospitals, physicians and dentists who serve lower-income families, as well as mental health, crisis intervention and dementia care.

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