Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Truth behind the New Talking Point: Walker saved taxpayers money when he turned down Medicaid Expansion.

Rep. John Nygren likes to think of himself as a “fiscally conservative” know-it-all, saving us money. He would be if BS actually did saved taxpayers cash, but...

The going lie pushed by the Wisconsin Reporter and parroted by clueless Republicans, is that Scott Walker saved taxpayers money on a federal level by not expanding Medicaid.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau just released a report saying something a little different, but that reality has now been reshaped into something that fits neatly into the right wing bubble.

Want the truth? Here’s what I came up with after a little research, point by point, disputing Rep. John Nygren’s misdirection play. Just as scary, Nygren in co-chair of the Joint Committee on Finance, which means he should know better, but doesn't. WSJ:
Nygren: “Protecting taxpayers from future costs of an unsustainable government program is one of the reasons the governor and lawmakers decided to turn down the federal funds.”
Truth: Nygren reveals the GOP’s plan; they will end Medicaid. And if Scott Walker is willing to work with Medicaid’s current 60% share of funding, why not 90%? Remember, Nygren said it’s an unsustainable program.
Nygren: “What they fail to mention is that expanding Medicaid would actually cost taxpayers billions in the long run. A point that is lost on some is where that federal money comes from — the taxpayers … the dollars would come from the federal pot of borrowed money rather than the state coffers. Misguided is what I call a proposal that claims to save taxpayer dollars.”
Truth: Nygren is misguided and very wrong. Medicaid expansion is paid for through the Affordable Care Act, it’s not an outside program taking taxpayer money. The Supreme Court’s ruling struck the ACA's mandated expansion down. Actually, because so many states turned down the expansion, ObamaCare isn't spending as much as they saved.
Nygren: “An expansion of Medicaid to those who can otherwise attain affordable coverage in the private sector would mean even higher insurance premiums for everyone else on private insurance. This is due to the cost-shifting that takes place as a result of low government reimbursement for providers.”
Truth: Two big lies, and Nygren is ass backwards on this. Lie 1. Those between 100% and 138% are still very poor and can’t afford the co-pays and deductibles. That’s why they didn't sign up for the Exchanges. Lie 2. Perhaps Nygren doesn't know that Medicaid expansion actually increases government reimbursements to providers to keep doctors and hospitals from dropping patients (to Medicare levels). Just as important, doctors and hospitals no longer lose money treating the uninsured. Insurers, hospitals and doctors also benefit from a larger pool of new marketplace customers. Combining the elements above is how the Affordable Care Act pays for expanded Medicaid.
Nygren: “We implemented reforms that ensure every person living in poverty has access to health care — for the first time in state history. This is worth repeating: The Republican-controlled Legislature and Gov. Walker worked together to ensure all persons living under the federal poverty level now have access to coverage.
Truth: Wow. An inadvertently funny new and foolish election year talking point you’ll hear over and over from Republicans. Unfortunately, their new bragging point is made possible by, wait for it...The Affordable Care Act, their most despised new government entitlement. Bizarre huh? They dumped 63,000 people, mostly families, from the rolls and sent them to ObamaCare. That doesn't include the 87,000 childless adult that would have also been covered under the expanded program. When you cut down the percentage used to define poverty, and send the rest to ObamaCare, magically every person for the first time in history is covered.
Nygren: “The waiting list had been in existence since 2009 when the Democratic-controlled Legislature imposed it. Our state also will continue to have one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country.”
Truth: The waiting list disappeared because of the Affordable Care Act. And why did we have one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country? Government run BadgerCare! Coverage was at a whopping 300% over the poverty line. We had a waiting list because there wasn't enough funding. So Nygren is unknowingly bragging about what he called an unsustainable Medicaid program, that gave Wisconsin one of the lowest uninsured rates in the nation. 
Any questions John? 


  1. And Nygren should know that Obamacare helps in reimbursement of hospitals, because he was part of the group that shelled out $30 million more of Wisconsin taxpayer dollars to help hospitals handle the increases in uncompensated care that resulted from Walker's and WisGOP's "reforms."

    The wall of WisGOP lies and or opaganda is high, but you've done well to shoot over it with this post, John. Every Wisconsin Dem should hammer this issue HARD in the next 11 weeks

  2. Where's Nygren's concern for the "federal pot of borrowed money" or protecting taxpayers due to higher future costs when it comes to expanding the I39/90? The Federal Trans Fund is $58B in the hole and the future cost burden for interstate maintenance and repair will double = double lanes. But there they are - hat in hand for the road lobby.

    They are batshit ideologues.