Capitol Report – Pandering to the extreme
By State Representative, Leon D. Young
The Legislature was suddenly summoned back into Special Session earlier this week at the behest of Governor Scott Walker.
To have Walker tell it, this was necessary in order to clean up the federal mess in Washington stemming from the bungled rollout of the Affordable Health Care Act.
Walker, in typical Scott Walker fashion, is trying to make political hay over the inability of thousands of Americans being unable to access the federal healthcare website.
Moreover, he has even intimated that he feels vindicated in refusing to accept federal funding for a complete Medicaid expansion.
The governor story may sound plausible to some, but the truth of the matter is this:
• The reason the Legislature was called back into special session was because Governor Walker and the Republicans caused a crisis by rejecting a commonsense solution that provides greater health care access for Wisconsin citizens.
• The GOP could have avoided the need for a special session with two simple actions:
1. Take the federal money so Wisconsin can provide access to healthcare to thousands more people at a lower cost for taxpayers.
2. Create a Wisconsin exchange so we have a solution that works for the people of our state.
• Our state could cover 85,000 more people and save $86 million in the biennium alone by expanding BadgerCare using federal funding.
• This Medicaid mess in our state was created because Republicans are pandering to extremism and Walker is putting his own political ambitions ahead of the health and well-being of the people of our state.
In reality, had Walker chosen to strengthen BadgerCare in the current budget, Wisconsin would have insured 85,000 more people, saved Wisconsin taxpayers $86 million and could have created an estimated 10,000 Wisconsin jobs.
At least, 10 Republican governors decided to take the federal expansion money, and why not?
First of all, as Ohio’s governor so aptly put it, “I had a chance to bring Ohio money ($14 billion) back to Ohio to make sure that the working poor have a system that makes sense instead of showing up and getting all their healthcare in emergency rooms.”
And second, as Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) wisely asserted, “Expanding Medicaid is the smart thing to do for our fiscal and public health.
Accepting these federal resources will provide health insurance to tens of thousands of low income New Jerseyans, keep our hospitals financially healthy and actually save money for New Jersey taxpayers.”
But, Scott Walker marches to the beat of Tea Party extremists in order to further his own political brand – without regard for the majority of Wisconsin residents.