Democrats push Walker on Medicaid expansion - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Democrats push Walker on Medicaid expansion

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Sen. Jennifer Shilling with State Rep. Steve Doyle, at news conference urging Medicaid expansion of Affordable Care Act. Sen. Jennifer Shilling with State Rep. Steve Doyle, at news conference urging Medicaid expansion of Affordable Care Act.

LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- A group of Democratic state legislators are urging Gov. Walker to  accept the Medicaid expansion portion of the Affordable Care Act.       

Sen. Jennifer Shilling, along with Rep. Steve Doyle and Rep. Jill Billings, say expanding

Medicaid in the state would help those on the waiting list for BadgerCare.

The Medicaid expansion, which would expand coverage to those making 133 percent of the poverty level, was originally a requirement under the Affordable Care Act. States failing to comply, risked losing existing Medicaid funding. However The Supreme Court ruled that states could decline the expansion, without penalty, leaving the decision up to the governors of each state.

The federal government will pay for most of the expansion, but states would have to pay for 10 percent of the cost by 2020.

"There's about 131,000 people who are eligible for BadgerCare right now but have not applied for one reason or another," said Sen. Jennifer Shilling. "We're gonna see a spike in that enrollment just with affordable care act. And by having the Medicaid money come to Wisconsin to fill that gap, we'll have additional people who will be eligible on those rolls."

Gov. Walker has yet to make a decision on the expansion. News 19 contacted the Governor's office, his press secretary, Cullen Werwie, provided the following statement:

"The last budget Gov. Walker signed into law increased state taxpayer spending on Medicaid by $1.2 billion. That's he largest increase in Wisconsin history and one of the largest increases per capita in the country. We're still evaluating the impact future Medicaid expansions would have on Wisconsin citizens."

Many Republican governors who oppose the Affordable Care Act, have been reluctant to sign on to the Medicaid expansion. However, on Monday, Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio agreed to a massive Medicaid expansion in his state.

The Medicaid expansion portion of the affordable care act is set to take effect in 2014.

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