By State Representative, Leon D. Young
Earlier this week, a headline on the front page of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel indicated that 92,000 Wisconsin resident were now on the brink of losing their health care coverage under the state-run Badger- Care Plus program.
This, in turn, would require these individuals to buy potentially more costly commercial health coverage under the Affordable Health Care Act.
This new turn of events, which as has been anticipated, has rekindled the debate over Scott Walker’s decision to reject additional federal money under what’s commonly unknown as Obamacare to expand BadgerCare Plus.
That decision is costing the state $119 million in its two-year budget, which began July 1.
BadgerCare Plus has covered adults with children under 19 in households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty line, or $47,100 for a family of four.
The state picked up about 40 percent of the cost; the federal government picked up the balance.
Under the plan put forth by Walker and the Republican-controlled Legislature, that coverage would now stop at 100 percent of the federal threshold – roughly $23,550 for a family of four.
If Walker had accepted the money through the Affordable Health Care Act, the federal government would have paid all of the cost through 2016, with the amount eventually dropping to 90 percent by 2021.
In addition, the federal money would have applied to those incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line.
This brings us to real gist of this political drama.
The GOP is using their opposition to the Affordable Health Care Act as a way to hold the country hostage, as in attempts to push the Republican agenda forward.
Ponder this: House Republicans have introduced bills to repeal Obamacare on forty-one different occasions.
In fact, these same House Republicans threatened a vote last Friday on a bill that links government funding to the GOP’s efforts against Obamacare. Yet, at the moment, it seems highly likely that the Republican Party will refuse to fund the government, forcing a shutdown at the beginning of next month, unless President Obama dismantles the health reform that is the signature achievement of his presidency.
Nobody even considered the possibility that a party might try to achieve its agenda, not through the constitutional process, but through blackmail — by threatening to bring the federal government, and maybe the whole economy, to its knees unless its demands were met.
This is truly a canard of the worst sort.