Update: If you’d like a more rigorous dig into the numbers, see this very recent post from Jake Has A Blog which uses the Kaiser study on Medicaid expansion I cite to thoroughly dispel Walker’s mythology on healthcare.
Jake concludes with this important update: “Lutheran Social Services announced it could not continue to provide services in the Eau Claire area due to low reimbursement costs, and is closing 4 facilities and laying off 44 employees.”
“My goal was to look at it not as a black and white issue,” – Scott Walker on expanding Medicaid from “Scott Walker hints at middle ground in Wisconsin Medicaid growth”
Times have sorta changed in Wisconsin.
Scott Walker is finding kinder gentler ways to reject federal gifts too good to refuse. News of the latest rebuffed billions first came to the world through a conservative “Yankee” blogger at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s
Online Mancave Purple Wisconsin page.
Today Scott Walker is expected to reveal a plan to reject $4.38 billion in federal funding of healthcare that’s projected to serve 127,000 Wisconsinites. Those billions would cover an estimated 93% of the cost of healthcare for those folks through the year 2020. – source: Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured
Scott Walker is also expected to vow to “expand” health insurance to poor Wisconsinites.
I expect Walker is meeting two primary goals:
1) do not estrange the Wingnut Nine – those Wisconsin legislators who’ve already vowed to nullify Obamacare and sic law enforcement on any “federal officials” who try to implement Obamacare in Wisconsin.*
2) Do not look like a one-man death panel.
Jon Peacock of WCCF expects Walker will tighten eligibility requirements so poor adults now on Badgercare will be pushed onto Obamacare coverage using anticipated “subsidized insurance marketplaces”. Peacock also thinks Walker will get more childless adults onto Badgercare. Peacock fears that the people pushed onto those Obamacare marketplaces are so poor they won’t have the income needed to buy coverage through that system [Yes, “buy”. It’s cheap but we’re talking about really poor people].
I fear Walker is once again lying and yes, I’m always saying that, so allow me to offer a bit of context.
From the aforementioned Yankee blogger:
“Walker plans to remove the cap on the BadgerCare Plus Core Plan, currently set at 65,300 (although currently, only 22,300 individuals participate in the program.)”
Interesting. Based on past performance, lifting a mythical “cap” will be meaningless given that the program’s administrators have been blocking enrollment.
In June of 2012, there were 130,000 people on a waiting list for that program. A lawsuit was filed by a man with a lung condition and a woman with a seizure disorder who wanted to get on the program. You can read more about that at ExpressMilwaukee but for the record, I’ll note a bit of its info. here:
WCCF’s Jon Peacock in his analysis found that Walker’s administration had budgeted for 43,000 childless adults to be covered by the program. Peacock also estimated that the state, very conservatively, could have been footing the bill for an additional 9,000 people as of June 2012.
So, in short, depending on which numbers and reasoning you cleave unto, Walker’s administration has deliberately kept somewhere between 9,000 and 21,000 people off of this form of healthcare despite its vow to do the contrary. In short, the cap this administration declared for Badgercare Core Plus has been meaningless.
Please forgive me for not believing the Walker administration will work in good faith to deliver healthcare to poor Wisconsinites in the future given its performance in the past.
On Death Panels
Hey – she wrote “Death panel” back there! You know I’m borrowing a term from that moose-killer from Wasilla. You also know that not getting decent healthcare in a timely manner doesn’t necessarily kill people. It could make you deaf in one ear like this young guy in Iowa County a nurse told me about. He was trying to ignore this pain in his ear and waited, and waited and long tragic story short, he’s deaf in that ear. He was afraid of a big doctor bill and had that “I’m healthy!” idea people in their 20’s so often have. I’m sure that nurse has seen worse but telling me about that guy half deaf at such a young age made her tear up in front of me.
How do we quantify so many 20-somethings gone deaf? It’s hard .
I suspect Scott Walker counts on that.
Come on, man. What’s up with Obamacare?
As you may remember, when Obamacare [technically the “Affordable Care Act”] was initially crafted, all states were obligated to accept additional Medicaid monies to deliver healthcare to more poor Americans. That was part of what would make it work. Then the Supreme Court decision sliced and diced it a bit – ruling that states must deliberately choose or reject the money. On the day of the SCOTUS decision, former Solicitor General Walter Dellinger said the states would be ‘insane’ to turn down new Medicaid funds offered through Obamacare.
That’s not very kind. Calling Scott Walker “insane” is an insult to insane people.
Bad News for BadgerCare Plus
March 15, 2012 By Appleton Wonk
Citizen Action of Wisconsin
* The Wingnut Nine
Rep. Chris Kapenga of Delafield
Sen. Mary Lazich of New Berlin
Reps. Don Pridemore of Hartford
Rep. Erik Severson of Star Prairie
Rep. Tom Larson of Colfax
Rep. Scott Krug of Wisconsin Rapids
Not sworn in yet when they vowed to block Obamacare:
Rob Hutton of Brookfield
Mark Born of Beaver Dam
Dave Murphy of Greenville
More info at “Nine WI Republicans expose their own stupidity, backing arrest of any federal official who tries to implement Obamacare”
One More Thing: I’ve seen journalists use “middle path” and “middle ground”. They verge on defiling the phrase “middle way”.
And what, monks, is the Middle Way realized by the Thus-Come-One, which gives vision and understanding, which leads to calm, penetration, enlightenment, to Nirvana?
It is just this Noble Eightfold Path, namely: Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. – The Buddha, Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta