Gov. Scott Walker is expected to announce Wednesday he is partially taking the optional Medicaid expansion under the health care reform law.
Anonymous sources from the Walker’s office told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel earlier this week that Walker would take an alternative option in the expansion, although details are still unclear on what that option would be.
Walker is expected to talk about his plans for the smaller expansion in a speech tomorrow afternoon at the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce convention.
“I think there’s more than just black or white,” Walker previously told the Journal Sentinel about the expansion. “I think there’s variations.”
Walker’s plan would lead to about 35,000 more individuals getting Medicaid, the Journal Sentinel reported from anonymous sources in Walker’s administration. That is less than the nearly 175,000 people who could get Medicaid if Walker took a full expansion, according to a nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis.
The Journal Sentinel also said Walker would likely put some people who would have been eligible under the full expansion into the private insurance exchanges the federal government will set up. The federal government has sliding subsidy levels in exchanges for those under 400 percent of the federal poverty line.
Democrats support the full Medicaid expansion in part due to the 100 percent of federal funding at first, a number that gradually goes down to 90 percent by 2020. That is compared to the current ratio of 60 percent federal funds and 40 percent state funds.
“Strengthening BadgerCare isn’t about loving or hating Obamacare,” Rep. Jon Richards, D-Milwaukee, said last week. “It’s about knowing a good deal when you see one. And this is a good deal.”
Walker’s spokesperson said last week it was not clear if the federal government would hold up the cost-sharing agreement.
Bobby Peterson, executive director of ABC For Health, which supports a full expansion, said the plan should not be referred to as a “middle option.”
Peterson emphasized the plans are still unclear, but would likely lead to more uninsured people and Wisconsinites’ federal tax money being sent to other states for their Medicaid expansions.
“I haven’t seen his plan yet, but this characterization of a middle option is likely to be false,” Peterson said. “He’s passing up a huge opportunity for people in Wisconsin.”