Wisconsin's Lt. Governor says accepting federal dollars to expand Medicaid will help people needing health care and cut costs.
Mandela Barnes spoke with WXPR prior to giving an address in Rhinelander Friday. Governor Evers has proposed in his budget accepting federal money to make health insurance possible for more people. Former Governor Scott Walker refused to take the money.
Democrat Barnes says this could be a benefit to many...
"..Medicaid expansion is the first step. A necessary step. It's a step that will save the state money that will also save the average consumer money, the average health insurance rate payer because we can increase competition in the market. There would be more flexibility for people to be insured. 82,000 more people will have access to the coverage they needed..."
He says many people can't afford health insurance, don't have any, which can lead to burdensome medical debt...
"It's unfortunate that is the situation we are in and that is why we put it in the budget because things can be better for many more people across the state if we were to take the step. I would encourage people to contact their legislators. Accepting the federal dollars to expand Medicaid is the right thing to do. It's our money that we've already sent to Washington, D.C. that we're not getting back..."
Republicans who control the budget-writing Joint Committee on Finance and both houses of the legislature are likely not to agree. Governor Walker signed a bill last year that would allow 're-insurance' which is intended to lower insurance costs. During the campaign last year, Walker said it would drop insurance costs about 4 percent.