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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Until Scott Walker became governor, Wisconsin had one of the strongest Medicaid programs in the nation.

Adults who earned up to 200 percent of the poverty level, which included those earning up to $47,100 for a family of four, were eligible for coverage under the joint federal/state program. That’s even more generous than the expansion of Medicaid for those earning up to 133 percent of the poverty level set to begin in 2014 under Obamacare.

President Obama’s signature health care reform law makes it easy for states to expand Medicaid by covering 100 percent of the program — up from the present level of 60 percent — at first and gradually decreasing support to 90 percent by 2020.

But when the Supreme Court ruled states could opt out of Medicaid expansion, it gave right-wing governors — especially those like Scott Walker considering a run for the presidency in 2016 — a chance to sabotage the number-one benefit of Obamacare: providing coverage to the working poor who earn too much to get Medicaid.

If Walker accepted the expansion, it would have covered 235,000 low-income Wisconsinites. But under Walker’s new plan, only those earning up to 100 percent of the poverty level — $23,550 for a family of four — will be eligible for Medicaid. About 10,000 childless adults will gain Medicaid but 95,000 more — mostly parents — will have to purchase a private insurance plan in the exchanges created by Affordable Care Act.

As MSNBC’s Steve Benen explains, “So Walker will rely on Obamacare in order to avoid implementing Obamacare.”

The displaced Wisconsinites will pay as little as $19 a month, but these plans will have deductibles and co-pays that many poor families just can’t afford — especially because these plans were not designed for families who are so close to the poverty level.

The working poor who are forced to rely on emergency rooms for expensive care they ultimately can’t afford drive up the cost of insurance and care for all Americans.

Walker is subverting this plan using Randian rhetoric: “We are talking about empowering people to control their own destiny.” Because there’s nothing more empowering than giving people just above the poverty level medical bills they can’t afford, thus driving up rates for the whole state.

One study shows that Walker’s plan will cost state employers up to $36 million.

The governor has claimed since he first came into office that his Koch-approved plans would create jobs; meanwhile Wisconsin has slipped from 11th to 44th in job creation. Despite this, he remains wildly popular with the far right, who seem to think punishing public workers and the working poor is an even higher virtue than creating jobs.

AP Photo/Morry Gash

  • dtgraham

    “We are talking about empowering people to control their own destiny?” Huh??

    I said it once before. At what point does a political movement cross the line into becoming just out and out viscous? From defending the practice of skinning calves alive in Tennessee to denying health care to the poor in Wisconsin. Jesus. I always thought they were somewhere to the right of most of their conservative sister parties in other countries, but not so much so as to be indistinguishable. They’re now indistinguishable.

    • viscous? They haven’t been too fluid of late.
      ***VICIOUS*** is more like it! *snerk*

      • dtgraham

        I wish I could claim a double entendre but I can’t make it work. It’s been a long day.

      • CPAinNewYork

        DGraham used the correct word; “vicious.” Where did you see “viscous”?

        Maybe your eyes need an examination.

        • english_teacher

          I think dtgraham edited it after it was pointed out.

          • dtgraham

            Yes he eventually did. So when fluid reaches a certain level of viscosity it becomes viscous. You learn something new every day I tell you.

      • jointerjohn

        Most slime is viscous, this particular slime is also vicious.

    • CPAinNewYork

      Why are we surprised? They are paralleling the growth of the Nazis in Germany of the thirties.

      • mscoyote

        The Koch’s are Nazis. Their father founded the Birch society. They are on record as white supremacists. They are following the tried and true fascist strategy of turning us on each other by playing on our fears and selfishness.

  • ORAXX

    I’m sure Ayn Rand must be smiling up from hell.

    • dtgraham

      Amen.

  • grandma_grapes

    and yet the idiots from my home state will re-elect him, not realizing their taxes went UP and their services were cut, and blame Obama for their woes. Always worrying about what someone else has on their plate. People don’t mind paying taxes when they have JOBS. Where are the JOBS? You can point fingers and call people useless slackers if there are jobs, but there are NOT.

    • CPAinNewYork

      I can understand conservatives being continually re-elected in the South, but I cannot understand it in a state with such progressive credentials as Wisconsin. What happened to the legacy of Bob La Follette?

      • sigrid28

        For most of my life, I was a summer resident of north central Wisconsin, to which my parents retired in 1976, leaving about twenty years later, when they sold their home to move to Iowa. Around our lake, even fifty years ago, there was inequality on display, palatial estates enjoyed the same beautiful shoreline as run-down fishmen’s cottages. The lake was pristine but no effort was made to keep it so, as motor boats dumped oily spills from outboard motors, and near the shore you could even then see surface rainbows of gasoline slicks from the leaky inboard motors of that era’s yachts and fishing launches. By the time my parents left in the 1990s, professionals had gentrified most of the modest summer cottages, and the weather had warmed enough so the lake didn’t quite freeze over as it had before, cutting down significantly on tourist income from winter sports in the region.

        As impoverished retirees, my parents had relatively higher wealth than they had had as a young couple. Maybe that is why these two die-hard Republicans and others like them seemed to accept with equanimity the fact that life had become too hard and too expensive to live in their old summer cottage remodeled to become their once dreamed of retirement home. At the same time, they were filled with resentment about the spear-fishing rights of Indian tribes, which they blamed for diminishing fish populations in lakes that they and wealthy new landowners did not hesitate to pollute at will. Now, you cannot even swim in the lake anymore because ecological imbalance has resulted in its being infested with larvae that cause intense itching once you get out of the water.

        To this day, Scott Walker can count on the racial animus of his Republican base, especially since they seem to take kindly to the extreme wealth of the new owners of the lakeland shorelines. Perhaps people like my parents, barely surviving on an income slightly over the poverty line, see themselves as better off than they were, when compared to their minimal income as young adults in the 1950s. Better off, in terms of Ryan’s far right constituency, is you can have a car and a truck and a boat, and live among your kind. Except for the Indian population living on and near reservations, minorities in Wisconsin live in large urban centers like Madison and Milwaukee, now struggling like many big cities in the Midwest.

        Maybe there is something to the idea that a vacation paradise treasured by summer and winter sports enthusiasts and a few environmentalists was viewed a cash cow by the locals who kept it going but didn’t look far enough into the future to conserve the state’s resources. When tourist numbers declined, the cash starved locals were enraptured to turn their treasure over cheaply to the 2%, who were more than happy to grab up it up, some for quick profits and some for long-term investment. Scott Walker is a 2%er like the new, wealthy barons of Wisconsin, and at the same time a native son, unashamed to act on an exploitative streak that seemed to characterize a lot of locals I knew when I was a girl.

      • mscoyote

        Millions and millions of Koch dollars, mailboxes full of NRA propaganda, a phone I took off the hook due to insane paranoid robocalls, Lies, lies, and more lies by public officials. Dishonesty that was so brash and in our faces many people thought it must be true or they wouldn’t dare say it. And a huge play on gut level bigoted fear of the president. You had to be here to see it play out. Thank you Supreme Court. Hope your happy that you have opened the door to fascism.

  • CPAinNewYork

    The middle class and the poor in Wisconsin better start another recall vote before their fascist governor deprives them of all their social welfare programs.

  • WhutHeSaid

    If only Walker WOULD somehow become the Republican nominee for President in 2016 — it would give Hillary Clinton one of the biggest electoral landslides in history.

    Walker/Rubio 2016 — woo-hoo!

  • Lovefacts

    When reading abobut Walker, I just get sad. The only good thing about this is, should the Republicans through their primaries give him the nomination, the Democrate will win in a walk. Pun intended.

    • mscoyote

      And if he wins he’ll leave Wisconsin.

  • adriancrutch

    Dagwood Walker needs to get that LAZY EYEBALL FIXED! YOU’D THINK THE KOCH’S COULD AFFORD THAT!

  • Walker’s ‘anti-common decency plank’ should be regarded as a clarion call to citizens, for what terrible consequences await our government and by extension: ‘the most vulnerable of society’, when we become too complacent. We had better truly recognize the fact these inhumane insects, have zero regard for the common working citizen – let alone the poor. If this hideous moral terpitude can attach itself to a state of such storied progressive history as Wisconsin, it can be plotted and carried out ANYWHERE. Walker is a morally vacuous son of a bitch – and he’d like nothing more than to become your president. So if you tend to be a complainer about the destructive Tea Party radicals – that’s fine. But, we also require ACTION. Get involved and help push back against this real form of tyranny, the continuation of your representative government, Social Security and Medicare, ABSOLUTELY depends on it.

  • is he doing a Nazi salute or what?

    • ralphkr

      No, in the Nazi salute the fingers are together and the thumb is against the hand. I am very familiar with the Nazi salute because for years we gave that salute to the flag while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance but switched to hand over heart in 1942.

  • tobyspeeks

    This is certain death for the teabillies and Walker’s reelection bid in 2014 and beyond. Let the new more sane, progressive congress and governor step in and begin to undo all the horror caused by this current administration.

  • jstsyn

    If “What goes around comes around” were actually true in most cases, I can’t think of a better person for it to come around to. What a sleaze.

  • In other words, a #36 million dollar middle finger to America.

  • Barbara Morgan

    How do people like Walker sleep at night? They do everything they can to make the rich richer and at the same time are trying to kill off the poor especially the children of the poor,and the hanicapped and the seniors and vets. I don;t know if he claims to a christian if he does, he sure doesn’t show it with the way he hurts the ones that being a christian he is suppose to help. He, Ryan and others like them will get their come uppance because when you treat people the way, Walker, Ryan and most of the Republicans politicans do they will pay for it in the long run. What I would like to see is that everyone of them l mo loss a lot money or all of it and have to get a job. See if they can live on less than $25,000.00 a year and still have a place to live, food, clothing, medical and dental care, pay utilies bills and all the other stuff that working people have to pay in order to survive. It is wrong to say this but I would like to see Walker, Ryan, Canter, Boehmner, and McConnell along with their families have to live on the street for awhile and look for a job,None on them would last a week living like that.

    • Susan Dean

      I doubt that any of them would last a week in a real job.

    • mscoyote

      They don’t think like you. They are psychopaths and believe they have a right to take advantage of us sorry weak caring people.

  • angelsinca

    Surprise; another Nat’l Memo article that obscures the entire picture in order to demonize Walker and republicans. How do you people tolerate this obvious bias? Medicaid ranks among the WORST helathcare on the planet. It undercuts doctors and hospitals that are now refusing to accept it anymore. Walker’s plan removes people from the medicaid roles and places them into more affordable exchanges. Medicaid’s funding is uncertain and imperils those that remain in it. Leaving the poor in medicaid in order to save the state money is an irresponsible abandonment of the poor. Look up the 2/15/2013 Forbes article titled “Scott Walker’s Rejection of Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion is a Model for the Nation” before you get too upset.

    • Actually, you ought to study up on healthcare systems. For-profit medicine and health insurance rank at the top of the worst healthcare systems on the planet on a per capita basis.

      • angelsinca

        Not entirely true, Jeremiah. The cost of US healthcare is among the highest/worst on the planet. The quality is among the best. I believe that you might be (mis)quoting Steven Hill’s assertion in his Washington Monthly article that cites low life expectancy of Americans as one reason to condemn the US healthcare system (or more accurately to support Obamacare). The poor life expectancy is due to the access to healthcare and poor lifestyle choices, as evidenced by the high obesity rate. This only reinforces the undesirablilty of the under-compensated and over-rationed medicaid/medicare system. Walker was right in removing the poor from that ailing gov’t-run scheme. Not that Obamacare is much better, but there is no other choice.

        • mscoyote

          Wow, talk about a ‘let them eat cake’ rational. The pharma companies, insurance companies, and mega-hospital /nursing home corporations have a strangle hold on costs and make a fortune for their owners. The reason the US has higher costs than any other country is because our government is over run by their lobbyist and bought politicians that refuse to negotiate for the citizens in the name of ‘free market’. Free market use to mean we had a choice. I don’t see any choice out there left after medicare and medicaid are dismantled. Good thing I still have rights to my gun so I can use it on myself when I get old and can’t afford healthcare. Although it might be more efficient to just gas us at a certain age, like they did to millions in the Koch’s father’s precious Nazi germany.

    • Sand_Cat

      Still trolling for a fight, but expecting hugs and kisses?

      • angelsinca

        Ah the sandbox is still stalking.

        • Sand_Cat

          Ah, the hypocrite still has his obsession with excretion. Aren’t your posts enough to satisfy that without actually getting crude, and – dare I say it – disrespectful?
          But then, you’re obviously the only one who deserves respect, having all that humility and faith.

          • angelsinca

            This is getting fun cat_box, just like the old days when you made no sense with your nonsense. You never did answer Monday’s question on how ‘people like me’ have taken away your ‘religious freedoms’. For someone that abhors God and all things religious, we thought you were either the poster child for dumb or just full of it. We chose both.

      • Shawn Johnson

        I do agree that I have never heard anyone say anything good about Medicaid. Lots of stories about people fighting for approval for treatment and payment though.

  • Pamby50

    The democrats in Wisconsin better start deciding who is going to run against him in 2014. I don’t think it should be Barret. He lost to him in the election and the recall.

  • howa4x

    He is really the gift that keeps on giving. Well not satisfied that his attacks on the public workforce gave his home state(and Paul Ryan’s) to Obama, he now turns his sights toward the working poor. Throwing all those people off of a health care option only makes him feel powerful. I don’t know how you empower people when they can’t provide healthcare for their families? This is an old republican standby started by Reagan. Lets look tough by kicking around the poor. I wonder if any of these people ever heard of Jesus? Seems like Ayn Rand is the new republican messiah. I wonder where they will all wait for their rapture to begin

  • exdemo55

    Gov. Scott Walker delivered a passionate defense of Wisconsin’s reforms at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday night. The embattled Republican governor used his keynote speech at CPAC to outline what’s at stake in Wisconsin and other states if his budget reforms are rolled back.
    “Our most powerful tool is the truth,” Walker told an excited crowd of conservatives, who gave him two standing ovations. He defended his actions as courageous with labor unions mounting a recall campaign to remove him from office. Unions have already financed recall efforts against state senators, losing four of the six campaigns they ran against incumbent Republicans.
    Walker said unions are motivated because of the reforms he and the legislature put in place shortly after he took office in 2011. They encompassed a range of issues — tax incentives for job creators, regulatory relief, tort reform and new options for health savings accounts — but the most controversial addressed government unions.
    Walker reformed the collective bargaining system in Wisconsin, empowering state and local governments to address budget deficits by asking government employees to make a 5.8% pension contribution (about the national average) and 12.6% health insurance contribution (about half the national average).
    “Collective bargaining is not a right,” Walker said. “In the public sector, collective bargaining is an expensive entitlement.”
    >> Watch our myth vs. fact video on Walker’s reforms.
    Walker said his changes have saved jobs in schools. Just one example is the Kaukauna School District in eastern Wiscsonsin, which turned a $400,000 deficit into a $1.5 million surplus, according to the state’s reform and results website. More teachers were hired in Kaukauna, allowing the district to lower classroom sizes and use the surplus for merit pay.
    “Our reforms end seniority and tenure,” Walker said, noting that talented young teachers no longer face the threat of layoffs simply because they were the last hired. “We can put the best and brightest in our classrooms — and we can keep them there.”
    In addition to having a notable impact on school districts, Walker said the reforms enacted last year have transformed the entire business climate in the state. Walked cited a survey from 2010 revealing that just 10 percent of businesses thought Wisconsin was headed in the right direction. That number rose to 94 percent this year.
    “We thought more about the next generation than the next election,” Walker said

    • mscoyote

      on the school issue – so glad someone benefited. Our fairly decent school is now a complete mess and the education my kids are getting is practically none existent with the overload on the teachers and lack of funding for anything at all.

      • exdemo55

        I have kids too. Your problem is not lack of funding. Stop looking to Almighty Government for the answers. They do nothing well except waste money.

        • mscoyote

          I home schooled for 12 years. Not everyone has the resources to do this and I have no problem contributing some tax dollars to help educate their kids. Being surrounded by people who can’t put two and two together is a real downer.

  • Sand_Cat

    The pose in the picture is perfect: you can hear the sieg heil (my German spelling is off, I’m sure)

    • dtgraham

      I think that’s the way I’ve seen it spelled Sand_Cat but let’s hope. I got an internet lube job from a hydraulic fluid chemist. I hope a Germanic studies professor doesn’t see your post and go Keggerland on you.

  • mscoyote

    All due to unlimited and undeclared money from the Kochs, the NRA, and their backers thanks to the Supreme Court. The Koch’s have an interest in taking over this state as an energy hub. They are also having a wonderful time destroying our infrastructure and playing us for idiots with massive propaganda campaigns.