Excerpted from a June 2017 column by Wisconsin Technology Council President Tom Still

Excerpted from a June 2017 column by Wisconsin Technology Council President Tom Still

Wisconsin partially expanded its Medicaid health program for the needy known as BadgerCare Plus some years ago. It didn’t do so fully, however, which meant the state has missed out on additional Medicaid matching dollars from federal taxpayers.

By 2025, the 19 states that didn’t expand Medicaid will lose out on $684 billion in additional federal money, an amount that would translate into $37 billion for Wisconsin alone, based on a report from the Missouri Hospital Association.

To date, Wisconsin taxpayers have spent $679 million more than they would have under a full expansion of Medicaid, the Legislature’s non-partisan budget office has estimated.

What’s the solution? It’s complicated and even a bit arcane – like much of health-care policy – but the options include:

  • Repeal Obamacare’s ongoing hospital Medicare reimbursement cuts in non-expansion states. Doing so would help restore fairness as the non-expansion states continue to pay for expansion in other states. The cuts in Medicare reimbursement, which goes primarily for health are for the elderly, were used to fund the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.
  • Put more money into the federal “Safety Net Fund,” which was created to smooth some of the disparities between expansion and non-expansion states. That would net Wisconsin about $70 million a year.
  • Ensure that Medicaid per capita spending caps do not disadvantage non-expansion states. On average, expansion states will see $1,936 per beneficiary compared to $1,158 per Medicaid beneficiary in non-expansion states.