Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Vos Republicans could google the Truth about Medicaid Expansion, and stop lying?

Thanks to the legacy of Scott Walker's pretzel logic bashing Medicaid Expansion, gerrymandered Republicans still think his every lie and nightmarish fantasy will find new suckers today, to defend what is indefensible; Refuse Medicaid Expansion.  

Below, I'm hoping to clearly lay out why Medicaid Expansion is so simple (based on research), and then show you how the manufactured Republican excuses twist reality inside out (based purely on business special interests and right-wing think tank opinions).
Republicans convened and adjourned the governor’s special session within seconds Tuesday rejecting outright the governor’s call to expand BadgerCare. 
Keep in mind, Republicans are purposely exploiting and conflating Medicaid expansion with the difficulties of hesitant workers returning to work after the year long pandemic. Republicans really thought this was a plot by liberals to destroy Trump's economy by closing businesses.  

Excuses to Turn Down Medicaid Expansion...

Excuse A: "Incentivize" Workers = Punishment, keep more people from getting Health Care:  That's what Sen. Chris Kapenga means by "incentivizing" people to work: 
Kapenga said GOP lawmakers should work to get more people off the state’s BadgerCare rolls by incentivizing them to work rather than expanding eligibility for the program.
Excuse B: Some people don't NEED health care? Impossible to imagine, isn't it? Note, many low wage workers aren't offered insurance from their employer so they enroll in Medicaid. But taxpayer paid health insurance recipient Chris Kapenga isn't concerned:
“There are currently a lot of people on Medicaid who don’t need it. Let’s get people working, let’s get people into the job market. We’ve got employers who are screaming for people right now.”
You get the idea that employer health insurance is both the carrot and the stick to get people to work at jobs they don't like? Now we know.
The Medicaid Expansion Myth Creators: Republicans think tanks and business lobby studies coincidentally "prove" the evils of Medicaid Expansion. Both the Cato Institute and The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) advocated against Medicaid expansion:
Michael Tanner, a fellow at the Cato Institute, states that (MYTH) Medicaid expansion is costly for states and does not provide better access to healthcare for low income individuals. Tanner also argues that states will see greater costs.

The Common Wealth Fund study says that's not true. The odds greatly favor Wisconsin saving money with Expansion:

First, expanding eligibility allows states to cut spending in other parts of their Medicaid programs. Second, it allows states to cut spending outside of Medicaid — particularly on state-funded health services for the uninsured. Finally, expansion may increase state revenues due to taxes related to Medicaid expansion or taxes on the increased economic activity it triggers.

Myth: Medicaid Patients wait longer/Receive Worse Care? Really? Consider the source of the research; CROWE (The Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy) is one of three Bradley-funded centers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison promoting the "free market." Health Care Finance:

Tanner also states that (MYTH) "Other studies show that, in some cases, Medicaid patients actually wait longer and receive worse care than the uninsured." (because doctors supposedly don't care about the patient because of lower fees, even though they are unaware of the patients insurance status)
Here's what those horrible wait times actually look like:
A Medicaid patient was 4.6 minutes past their scheduled appointment time, compared to 4.1 minutes  past for the privately insured. Plus, Medicaid patients compared to privately insured patients had wait times of 18 percent to 16.3 percent respectively. 
Myth: Fed will Reduce Reimbursement Rates: Nope. Another Walker myth. Where did he get that one? The gaslighting Right wing business special interests of course:
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) "Our small business members have looked at this issue from every perspective and believe expanding an underfunded, cumbersome, and poorly administered program like Medicaid would be irresponsible. The bottom line is this: Does anyone really believe that Washington will continue to pick up 90 percent of new costs after 2020?

Kapenga said Republicans fear the federal government will reduce the amount of Medicaid reimbursement funds over time.
“There’s going to be a reckoning with all this spending. It has to be paid back. It’s really a ploy to try to get states to get to pull into the system, they want to suck them into the system, and then over time, it’s a win for the federal government because they reduce their reimbursement rates and they start saving money.”
Walker purposely lied (or amazingly never understood) there is a yearly adjustable Medicaid formula that makes reimbursement rates rise and fall. The irony? Republicans want to keep that Medicaid plan (state pays around 42 percent) a bit higher than paying just 10 percent:  

Myth: Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said it would make private plans more expensive.

Not really, since health care providers would have fewer uncompensated bills piling up. Yet Republicans here wanted to go back to "high-risk pools," which really did raise everyone else's premiums. 
By reducing the number of people without insurance, Medicaid expansion significantly reduces the amount of uncompensated care. Therefore, some states have chosen to reduce payments to health care providers for uncompensated care.
I'm not sure any of this is still happening, but spending more money has never stopped Republicans from saying they're saving money:
Walker is also doling out $30 million from the general fund so hospitals won't lose money caring for the uninsured (the fed is giving $30 million as well)
Never ones to solve a growing social problem, especially after the pandemic exposed US's horrific health care shortfalls. Republicans will take a pass on this one... 
The health insurance trade association America's Health Insurance Plans, spoke in support of Medicaid expansion in September 2016, saying "Medicaid is going to become the bigger issue [from the] affordability perspective. Medicaid expansion would pressure the country to address rising health costs.

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