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Wisconsin pays for Walker’s ACA rejection

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Minnesota’s governor, Mark Dayton, embraced implementation of the Affordable Care Act while Wisconsin’s Gov. Scott Walker has not.

Walker’s decisions were to reject enhanced federal Medicaid dollars; rigorous review of health insurance rates; and a state-based exchange to ensure cost-competitive options for residents — all tools Minnesota employed. It plays a substantial role in raising health insurance rates in Wisconsin when compared to Minnesota.

On Fox News on Feb. 23, Walker said he refused to accept federal money — an estimated $119 million for 2013-2015 according to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, to expand Medicaid health care services to Wisconsinites at 100 percent to 133 percent of poverty because “I love the taxpayers.”

Walker believes the federal government will break its promise to the states, so he doesn’t want to put taxpayers at risk.

The Medicaid expansion dollars would generate health care jobs, plus keep an estimated 77,000 Wisconsinites healthy, enabling them to work and study to reach their full productive capacity.

This year, Wisconsin health insurance exchange premiums for single coverage average 79 percent to 99 percent higher than premiums in Minnesota, before tax credits are applied. The differential is worse for some Wisconsin cities like La Crosse, 136 percent; Milwaukee. 112 percent; and Eau Claire, 116 percent higher than the Minnesota average.

When 2015 insurance rates are set, Wisconsinites lose even more under Walker’s policies because studies show folks without insurance coverage or preventive care wait until they are so sick they must to go emergency rooms, the most expensive health care, and those costs will are passed on to paying customers in the form of higher insurance rates.

Walker is preventing us from getting our fair share of federal tax dollars back and getting competitive insurance rates. Tell him — email govgeneral@wisconsin.gov or call 608-266-1212 — to put aside partisan politics, do what’s best for Wisconsinites and follow Minnesota’s lead on implementation of the ACA.

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