Sep 3

Wisconsin Has Rejected $550 Million in Federal Dollars for Health Care

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With its new two-year budget in place, Wisconsin now has passed up more than $550 million in federal money available under the Affordable Care Act. The state previously rejected roughly $200 million in federal money available starting in January 2014, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. The new budget turned away another $360 million — far more than the $250 million in cuts the same budget made to the University of Wisconsin System. Yet accepting the federal money was never seriously considered by the Republican-controlled Legislature. The state has remained committed to Gov. Scott Walker’s approach to the law. Walker is the only governor in the country who has used the law to expand access to health insurance while turning down the additional federal dollars available to pay for it. Most Republican governors have opted not to expand their Medicaid programs through the law. In contrast, Walker did expand Wisconsin’s Medicaid program, and 145,000 people have gained coverage as a result. The governor just did it in a way that costs state taxpayers — though not federal taxpayers — more money.