Shocker? It looks like Scott Walker and the Republicans actually did expand Medicaid, but they just didn't take the federal money...the reality is just settling in:
JS-Guy Boulton: Former Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature already expanded the Medicaid program. They just didn’t take the federal money available to states to offset much of the cost.Just as outrageous, although many suspected this all along, Republicans made a decision after Evers election that they would collude with right-wing groups and "institutes" to spew out phony research just to muddy the waters and call into question any "liberal" Democratic policies coming out of the Evers administration.
Wisconsin is the only state in the country that expanded eligibility for its Medicaid program — the change made in 2014 ... That decision will have cost the state an estimated $1.1 billion in federal dollars through the current fiscal year, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
It almost worked.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (backed with millions in grants from the Bradley Foundation (and) member of the State Policy Network, a web of right-wing “think tanks”) and UW economics professor Noah Williams (also funded by the Bradley Foundation) defended their phony study. They claimed "cost shifting" to everyone else's private insurance premium? It just wasn't possible. You can't make this stuff up:
There’s also a question about the study’s time frame. The study ended with data from 2014 — before any purported cost shift to private health plans could have occurred in most states. This means that any costs shifted to private insurers wouldn’t have appeared in the cost of health plans until 2016 at the earliest.Remember when Walker thought the federal government would end up not paying the 90 percent of the cost of expanded Medicaid? What study informed in of that? The federal government never missed a payment before that. Walker had mistaken the yearly federal changes to the percentage on the fed side as reneging on their promise. Walker is not a smart man, as we're finding out from his now clueless tweets.
The expanded eligibility for Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act didn’t begin until Jan. 1, 2014. Insurers typically negotiate three- to five-year contracts with health systems and other providers ... the price increases would not have been set until the following year, 2015. Insurers and employers who self insure, in turn, set premiums for their health plans for the following year in September or October.
But wait, there's more proof the report was pretty damn phony; hospitals most affected financially disagreed with the conclusions:
But studies show that expanding eligibility for Medicaid significantly improved hospital operating profit margins, according to an issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation, which does health policy research.Then there's this caveat...
Further, hospital associations have pushed to expand eligibility for Medicaid in states that didn’t — and they presumably wouldn’t take that position if they thought it would increase their costs and force them to raise prices.
Neither Flanders nor Williams contend the study is perfect. “There are invariably assumptions that have to be made in every econometric analysis,” Flanders said....which embolden Republicans to claim the study as factual proof. A study by the way, that will make the rounds in other conservative states now. They don't do this stuff for nothing:
The study’s conclusions didn’t evoke any skepticism by the legislators — Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin; Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville; Sen. Chris Kapenga, R-Delafield; and Sen. Dave Craig, R-Big Bend, — who held the news conference to tout them.Here's what I've been saying since this "study" came out:
Robert Laszewski of Health Policy & Strategy Associates, a health care consultant and Wisconsin native who has been a sharp critic of flaws in the Affordable Care Act:“Why are we even having this discussion? The data is there. The studies are there. The practical information is there. When are these people going to give up and finally admit that forcing Wisconsin taxpayers to pay something the federal government has been begging to pay for is not smart policy?”