$12 billion in medicaid funding on the line for Wisconsin - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

$12 billion in Medicaid funding on the line for Wisconsin


Eau Claire (WQOW) - Billions of dollars in Medicaid funding are on the line for Wisconsin. The federal government would give out $12 billion in funding to Wisconsin over a ten year period. That money could mean health insurance coverage for many under the poverty line. But the state may say "no thanks" to the money.

"We don't see this as a partisan bill, this should be a non-partisan issue," says Rep. Dana Wachs (D-91st Assembly District).  

Governor Walker will have to decide whether to accept $12 billion in federal funding to help support Badgercare.

"It's a human issue. The impact is absolutely horrendous of folks that have not been adequately insured in terms of healthcare," says Rep. Wachs.

Democrats say the money would allow an extra 211,000 people to get health insurance through Badgercare. People like the Ewings.

"It was back in the fall of 2006 that because our son turned 18, we weren't eligible for Badgercare," Bruce Ewing says. "My wife Diane had diabetes, so we also weren't able to get any insurance from any place else, there was nobody that would take us, because they won't take somebody that's diabetic. Shortly after that she had surgery and lost her first leg, and the bills were over $150,000 and there was no help. Because we owned a farm, we couldn't do anything other than pay the bill, and the only way we could pay the bill was to sell all our assets, so we sold our farm and paid the bill."

The $12 billion in funding would help prevent that kind of thing from happening to other families.

"I think this is a win-win for everybody and it should be a non-partisan issue. There's other Republican governors in Ohio, New Mexico, North Dakota and other places that are opting into this program, and we're very much encouraging Governor Walker to do that," says Rep. Wachs.

But Governor Walker, and state Republicans, are concerned federal government funding might dry up, and the feds might not actually have the money to give out over the next several years.

"While it's an interesting concept, this is not just....'hey, it may be a good idea for a press release today. We want to actually make sure taxpayers are protected for tomorrow," says Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder (R-69th district).

Governor Walker plans to announce his decision on the Medicaid expansion closer to his budget address on February 20th.


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