By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Earlier this week, Republicans and Democrats met for a Joint Committee Meeting on Finance to discuss expanding Medicaid in Wisconsin. If Medicaid was expanded, the state would receive $1.6 billion through federal funding.
During the meeting, Republicans refused to expand Medicaid. If Republicans had agreed to expand it, federal funding would have gone towards state programming and increased access to affordable health care.
Currently, due to the decision to not expand, Wisconsin will use state tax dollars to fund programming. Democrats such as State Rep. Gordon Hintz for the 54th District, released a statement responding to the decision.
“Medicaid expansion isn’t just about health care,” Hintz said. “It’s about building a better Wisconsin for everyone.”
Hintz went on to explain that through Medicaid expansion, Wisconsin could have saved taxpayer dollars and invested them towards other state priorities. However, taxpayer dollars will continue to go towards health care.
He added that if Wisconsin residents care about public education, a balanced budget, economic development then they should care about Medicaid expansion.
“Expansion is the lynch pin to everything in Gov. Evers’ budget,” Hintz said.
Hintz has been a member of the Wisconsin State Assembly since 2007. He is known for his advocacy work towards working families and sensible fiscal policy. He serves on the Legislature’s Budget Committee and the Joint Committee on Finance.
According to Hintz, per his statement, Republicans in other states such as Michigan, Iowa, Indiana and Ohio have all expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Vice President Mike Pence and additional Republican leaders also expressed support because it benefited their state.
Hintz said that state legislators have a moral responsibility to help families by giving them access to affordable health care. To constantly vote against expansion doesn’t make sense, he said.
“Rejecting the enhanced federal match rate is also fiscally irresponsible,” he said. “Republicans continue to turn away the $1.6 billion in federal funds we could draw down to use for additional health care investments.”
In response to the Republicans’ decision, Evers took to Twitter to encourage Wisconsinites to fight for Medicaid.
“Show the GOP we mean business. We’re not letting our foot off the gas pedal in the #Fight4Medicaid,” Evers tweeted.
Evers said to call legislators, write letters to the editor and find friends to do the same.