Study: Medicaid expansion funds could boost state’s health coverage

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    Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in the last 15 states that have turned down federal aid for that purpose — including Wisconsin — could add 4.1 million people to the list of those who have healthcare coverage, according to a new study.

    The Urban Institute report, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and released this week, calculated the benefits of accepting the federal subsidy to expand the Medicaid program in each of the holdout states.

    Wisconsin would not see as large a drop in the number of uninsured people as other states, in part because the state already provides Medicaid for a large number of poor adults, although not at the income levels that the federally funded expansion would make possible.

    All 15 of the non-Medicaid-expansion states together would see a 28% reduction in the number of uninsured people, while individual states would vary considerably. Alabama, for instance, would be able to cut its uninsured population by 43.1%, according to the study, and Mississippi by 39%.

    Wisconsin, meanwhile, would reduce its uninsured population by 16% if it accepted the federal expansion funds. Gov. Tony Evers included Medicaid expansion in his first biennial budget last year, but the Republican majority in the Legislature stripped that provision from the spending plan. GOP leaders have since refused to take up a stand-alone Medicaid-expansion bill.

    Erik Gunn
    Senior Reporter Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, along with related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.