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News & Press: State News

Democratic Legislators Introduce Medicaid Expansion Bill

Friday, August 30, 2019  
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Erik Kanter, Hoven Consulting

 

Earlier this month, Senator Jon Erpenbach (D – West Point) and Representative Daniel Riemer (D – Milwaukee) introduced legislation to accept federal Medicaid expansion dollars and change Medicaid eligibility to individuals and families with income up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

 

Governor Evers included Medicaid expansion in his budget proposal. However, the legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance removed the initiative from the final budget bill. This new legislation closely mirrors Governor Evers’ original proposal.

 

In a joint press release, Erpenbach and Riemer said, “The fiscal irresponsibility from Republicans continues to be a losing issue for them…Medicaid Expansion continues to poll at over 70% and there is no logical reason to reject a proposal to accept federal funds.”

 

Governor Evers supports the proposal and told the media, “[Republican legislators] disagree with improving our health care system and saving taxpayer money, so be it, they're free to vote against the bill. But it's time to let every single member of the Legislature have an opportunity to represent their constituents and cast a vote for the bill.”

 

However, the bills chances in the Republican-controlled legislature are poor. Legislative leaders have long opposed Medicaid expansion. In fall 2018, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R – Rochester) said when asked about accepting the federal dollars, “Not going to happen. No way. Never.” During this year’s budget deliberations, Vos tweeted “#never” in regard to an article about Wisconsin accepting Medicaid expansion. Political spectators are not betting on Vos changing course on the issue.

 


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