By State Representative, Leon D. Young
Elections are supposed to have consequences. With President Barack Obama having won reelection to a second term just last month, the Affordable Health Care Act should now be assured of becoming the law of the land, with full implementation slated by 2014 — or will it?
Governor Scott Walker has made no bones about his utter abhorrence for the ObamaCare law, and insists that it “will devastate Wisconsin .” Walker ’s assertion, in truth, just doesn’t hold water. A study of the Urban Institute estimates that Wisconsin will save $248 million over the next 10 years by expanding its Medicaid coverage to low-income recipients.
Typical of health insurance regulations, the issue is incredibly complicated, with some uncertainties. Although it’s a federal program, each state implements its own Medicaid program. In Wisconsin, it’s called BadgerCare.
The Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that the federal government cannot force states to expand Medicaid. As an incentive, the feds are now offering to pay 100 percent of the cost of the new eligible enrollees from 2014 through 2016. (For current enrollees, the state now pays 40 percent, the feds 60 percent.) After 2016, the federal contribution for new enrollees gradually drops to 90 percent.
Unfortunately, Scott Walker is not alone in his adamant refusal to implement the Affordable Health Care Act. Not a single Republican governor has pledged to accept the Medicaid funds and three Democrats are also considering turning down the money. In total, these states would give up $291 billion in federal funds and leave approximately 10.3 million Americans uninsured.
There are over 30 countries in the world with some form of universal health care coverage. Prior to the passage of ObamaCare , America was visibly absent from this enlightened list. One can make the argument that there’s something terribly wrong with a country that boasts of being the “Leader of the Free World” in one breath and then fails to deliver health care coverage to 45 million of its own citizens.
Even though the phrase “don’t cut off your nose to spite your own face,” doesn’t seem to make much sense, the meaning does make sense. The phrase is an admonition not to do something that is meant to cause spite to others (in this instance, President Obama) but only ends up causing spite to yourself (and to the millions of residents in your state without health care coverage).