Erpenbach Supports Evers’ Investments to Create a Healthier Wisconsin

 

MADISON - Today the Joint Committee on Finance held a series of Agency Budget Briefings, including from the Department of Health Services (DHS). We heard from DHS Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm about why the People’s Budget is a huge step forward for our state.

This budget is anchored by the Medicaid Expansion. Allowing people who make up to $17,000 per year to have access to Medicaid would expand affordable health insurance to 82,000 people, and would invest millions of dollars directly into our communities to address vital health care needs.  This budget works toward eliminating health disparities and improving the health and well-being of Wisconsinites at every stage.  Wisconsinites have been asking for affordable health care for years, and it is time that our state puts politics aside to listen to their needs and take real steps forward. 

Under former Governor Walker, the Republicans denied affordable care for individuals working full time, earning between 100% - 138% of the federal poverty level. Those individuals make $12,000 - $17,000 per year, and, in many cases, are forced to choose between paying their rent and health insurance. Because of the failed policies of the past, Wisconsin is letting those individuals fall through the cracks.

While Republicans continue to play partisan games and hinder Wisconsinites ability to afford care, an estimated 406,000 Wisconsinites can’t afford coverage. This is causing hospitals to go bankrupt due to medical debt. Covering the people who lack health insurance will reduce uncompensated care costs for providers and hospitals and help prevent medical bankruptcies, while generating $324.5 million in savings for the state. We can leverage those savings to bring in $1.6 billion in new federal funding.

Governor Evers’ went around the state to hear from real individuals who are affected by this issue, and found that this is not a partisan issue. A recent Marquette poll showed accepting federal money to expand Medicaid — is supported by 62 percent of Wisconsin voters. It is time for Wisconsin to join 37 other states in accepting the Medicaid expansion, instead of allowing 1.1 billion Wisconsin dollars to go elsewhere.