Before the national crackup about “keeping your insurance,” Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) sent out almost 100,000 cancelation notices of his own.
In late September, many of Wisconsin’s poorest residents found out that their health coverage had been terminated and they would likely need to pay more to stay insured.
Republicans led by Scott Walker were “reforming” one of the most generous Medicaid programs in the nation. Badgercare currently covers families that earn up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Next year the program will only cover families that earn up to 100 percent of the poverty level.
As part of a plot to shift the burden of care to the federal government, the governor is moving tens of thousands of Wisconsinites and their families off Badgercare, a program that has been capped since 2009, to bring 80,000 single adults under the poverty level onto the program. But because of problems with Healthcare.gov, Walker wants to delay this move for three months, leaving some of the poorest people in the state with no health insurance for months.
Leave it to Scott Walker to use the greatest attempt to cover the uninsured in generations to leave some his state’s poorest people with no coverage at all.
The Tea Partying governor is also rejecting the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid, turning down $100 million this year. The federal government will fund expansion at 100 percent for three years, eventually tapering down to 90 percent by the end of the decade. Currently the feds pay for 60 percent of Badgercare.
Why is Walker turning down this 30 percent raise from the government on behalf of Wisconsin—a decision that could cost his state’s employers $36 million?
“For anyone who says, ‘Why would you not take it?’ My answer is simple. I don’t wanna expose the taxpayers in my state to the burden that’s gonna come due when the federal government reneges on their promise,” Walker told MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
Wisconsinites receive more than $40 billion in federal funding every year. Walker had no worries about that money arriving when he signed a $100 million property tax cut that mostly benefits corporations and the rich, and millions in tax cuts before it.
The prospect of the federal government reneging on its promise is an argument against increasing border security, building new roads or, especially, maintaining a nuclear arsenal. Are states going to reject military installations because the federal government may renege on the funding? Of course not.
The only people who are even talking about cutting Medicaid are Republicans.
Walker’s real answer is far more sinister, and intimately connected to his real ambitions.