There is no legitimate research backing up Gov. Scott Walker’s decision to refuse to fill the gaps in Medicaid with federal funds. Research, some even completed by non-partisan groups, shows he is basically choosing to throw away taxpayers’ money. It’s not fiscally responsible. His plan will not only cover fewer Wisconsinites — especially low-income parents, many of whom will be pushed out of Medicaid — but also cost the state millions more in the long term. It is ridiculous not to use the money the federal government is offering, which is, after all, paid by Wisconsin taxpayers. If he is worried about the federal government’s ability to keep its promise in the long term, then he should offer a conditional full expansion that allows him to change Medicaid again if the government stops funding 90 to 100 percent of the costs.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in its original form did not intend for the lowest income individuals (between 100 and 133 percent of the federal poverty level) to purchase insurance through marketplaces. While the marketplaces will have federal subsidies available, this will still not be a viable option for many people. Even though monthly payments could be as low as $15 to $20 per month for some individuals, this does not include the high deductibles and co-pays accompanying these less expensive plans.
During the past few years that I’ve been living in Madison, I have experienced firsthand the desire of my fellow Badgers to make a positive impact on the world. We know we have a voice and the avenues and responsibility to use it. It may seem mundane, but medical assistance programs such as BadgerCare help individuals and families in accessing healthcare, which is vital to a productive and happy life. We live on a campus of global significance but we cannot forget we have a responsibility to fight for social justice locally as well as abroad.
Nikki Smith ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in legal studies and social welfare.