Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Scott Walker's Obamacare maneuvering

Scott Walker's Obamacare maneuvering

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks at CPAC 2013.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker thinks he can boost his national chances in 2016 if he doesn't look like a total teabagger to too many voters, but if he can at the same time stick his finger in the eye of President Obama on Obamacare. Thus he has developed a convoluted approach to both the exchanges and Medicaid expansion, one of which probably won't go down well with the administration—which has to grant a waiver for him to do it—and the other which shouldn't go down well with Wisconsinites. First, he wants to opt out of the federal exchange but still have people get insurance. See? Moderate. Walker wants the federal government to allow Wisconsinites to use their federal subsidies outside of the exchange to buy any policy sold in his state. That would basically keep his state out of the whole evil Obamacare system, but still let them get subsidized health insurance. It's not likely to work, so he's also asked the feds to allow Wisconsin into a pilot program already operating in Texas, Florida, and Ohio that allows people to purchase plans on the exchanges directly from the insurer instead of going through the federal website. (Now that the website is functioning, the feds might be less likely to loop Wisconsin in.)
On Medicaid, Walker's big plan is to kick 77,000 people out of the state's current, expansive Medicaid program called Badgercare, and put them in the exchanges. That would free up space, because Badgercare has a cap, allowing some 83,000 more low-income people into the program.
“It’s part of overall reform,” Walker said, “where our goal is to get more people out into the workplace, more people covered when it comes to health care and fewer people dependent on the government, not because we’ve kicked them out but we’ve empowered them to take control of their own destiny.”
Sounds good, so far, right (except for the Ayn Randian "destiny" bullshit). He's a compassionate conservative, really a moderate, right? Except that he's still refusing the federal Medicaid expansion money, keeping his Obamacare hating creds in place. Here's the problem: that's going to cost Wisconsin taxpayers an additional $460 million through 2020. At least some folks in Wisconsin, including the editors at the Cap Times aren't pleased with this plan, and aren't fooled by Walker's newfound concern for the poor. They know it's about a presidential run in 2016: "Scott Walker puts politics first—even if that means making Wisconsinites pay more." The easily fooled wingnuts, however, love it.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Dec 16, 2013 at 01:47 PM PST.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive and Daily Kos.

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