The following is cross-posted from the Wisconsin Jobs Now blog:
Gov. Walker continues to express “concerns” about keeping people healthy in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is one of the few states that has yet to accept billions in dollars to give hundreds of thousands of citizens access to the healthcare they need to stay productive, and in many cases, stay alive. In his latest statements the Governor said, “given the uncertainty around the federal budget, long-term funding is highly uncertain . . .”
Not only has the Health and Human Services Secretary come out and affirmed that the “Medicaid expansion is not a bait-and-switch,” but as we’ve mentioned before, this argument doesn’t hold a lot of water, but even more demonstrative of the governor’s attitude toward his constituents is when he brought up the fact that, “We already have one of the lowest rates of those uninsured in the country . . . ”
The Governor is behaving in a callous manner. The fact that we have a low number of uninsured people in Wisconsin is BECAUSE of BadgerCare. It was a revolutionary program in its time and goes a long way to make sure that low-income children and their guardians get the affordable healthcare they deserve. However, there are still over 100,000 people on the BadgerCare waiting list, many of which have little hope of gaining access to healthcare through any other means. In addition, 4/5 of the people to be covered under the BadgerCare expansion in Wisconsin make TOO LITTLE MONEY to be eligible for subsidized health coverage under the Obamacare insurance exchange (which, incidentally, Walker refused to set up at the state level and left to the federal government to organize).
In short, if Walker does not accept the federal funding he’s telling 168,000 Wisconsinites with no other viable option for health coverage that they don’t deserve to have their illnesses, injuries, and long-term needs treated. He’s telling the taxpayers of Wisconsin that he’s fine with us footing over $65 million in additional healthcare costs. He’s telling the unemployed that Wisconsin doesn’t need to create 10,000 in-state healthcare jobs.
And most egregiously, he’s telling the terminally ill that they don’t deserve the treatment they need to live.
Walker should stay out of national politics. Whatever “pats on the back” he earns by turning down this funding aren’t worth the lives that will be lost.
It’s simple. Accept the money, do what’s right, say YES to BadgerCare.