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State should accept Medicaid expansion funds PDF Print E-mail

Letter to the Editor:

Vilas County has a federal poverty rate of about 12.9%, ranking it 30th among the 72 Wisconsin counties. The city of Eagle River has a per-capita income of $15,876, ranking it 517 out of 631 Wisconsin cities and towns.

Vilas County relies heavily on tourism, which often provides part-time or seasonal employment without benefits, most importantly health care. Many working individuals in Vilas County link multiple part-time and seasonal jobs together to make a living.

Nationally, half the employed individuals in America make under $32,000 per year. In 2012, 40% of wage earners made $20,000 per year or less.

For the first time in our history dating back to President Harry Truman, a president succeeded where many before, both Republican and Democrat, have failed. He moved us a step closer toward universal health care, an area where we have been playing catch-up behind most of the industrialized world.

As a Social Service director (now retired), I always supported the concept of universal health care whether a single-payer system or a private insurance marketplace with the expansion of Medicaid.

I thought that we were moving in that direction. BadgerCare was expanding to cover parents as well as the children in lower-income families, childless adults were being covered, income eligibility was being raised. I thought eventually all these programs would be pulled together under a single umbrella with a public/private partnership.

The supreme court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It stated that the mandate could be required under the taxing authority of the federal government. However, the federal government could not penalize the states for refusing the expansion of Medicaid required to make the program whole, nor could they penalize the states who refuse to set up their own exchanges as designed.

So as you already know, Wisconsin said in effect, “Keep your money and exchanges.” Money for this expansion was already approved and available, with little to no match by the state. What an incredible deal for Wisconsin and Vilas County’s low-income working families and individuals, and for local hospitals and clinics to have a funding source connected to all patients. This deal was so good for the states, that supporters of the ACA law thought there was no way state politicians could, in good faith to their constituencies, refuse it.

Oh, how wrong they were. No one then could have predicted how deep and wide this ideological divide in the country and in particular Wisconsin would become. Wisconsin with it’s one-party system sits in the epicenter of crazy divided government, slashing and dashing all hope of moving closer to universal health care.

As a third-generation Wisconsinite, I was taught all jobs have value and all people doing those jobs conscientiously deserve respect. They don’t deserve ideologues for politicians making it more difficult for them to provide for their children and themselves in an already tough economy. No one who worked in any health-related field would have ever expected movement towards universal health care to be easy.

I don’t know why our politicians are so set on sabotaging this historic and long-awaited legislation. If it’s because our president looks different and has a funny name, or it offends their ideology, or they harbor old welfare stereotypes, or maybe they’re just indifferent to the needs of others and seek political power and financial gain, whatever it is, get over it!

Lift Wisconsin up, do the right thing, the ethical thing. Accept the Medicaid expansion money and get to work on setting up our own exchanges, now.

Greg Schiek Sr.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013 11:45 AM


-6 #3 2013-12-09 16:46
Good Letter Greg. I too am in favor of a Single Payer system. The good news is that some states are moving towards that. I believe I read where ermont is looking at setting up an entire single payer type system on their own! As for WI and Walker not taking the fed money he is costing each and every taxpayer in this state a lot of money. When compared to MN who accepted the Fed money and set up their own xchange, rates are 70% or moe less than here in WI. " Wisconsin insurance exchange premiums for a single person are an average of 79 percent to 99 percent higher than premiums in Minnesota, before tax credits are applied. He said the average Wisconsinite will pay $1,800 more annually for health care."
-17 #2 2013-11-27 10:47
I love how typical the last part of this letter is.

People like myself don't like it because it is a BAD SYSTEM, period!!! It has NOTHING to do with how he looks or his name. I think that you ought to get over that!

By the way, if Badgercare exists... Why the need for the exchanges to begin with?
-19 #1 Frank Gabl 2013-11-27 08:50

Let’s put aside the fact that you characterized a national health care law, which a clear majority of Americans have never wanted, as “long-awaited legislation.”

So, in a purely general sense, what is the difference between the politicians you labeled as “ideologues,” who you contend are basically working against the people, and that of a retired Social Service director, who not only resorts to the “looks different and has a funny name” card, but even in spite of recent revelations, still proudly stands behind utterly fraudulent health-care legislation as well as the deceitful president who compulsively lied to make it law and get himself reelected?

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