MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin would save about $66 million state tax dollars over a three-year period if the state agrees to expand Medicaid under the Obama health reform law.
The non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau reviewed the state’s fiscal ramifications of expanding tax-funded health programs like BadgerCare Plus. And Democrats used that report Tuesday in urging Republican Governor Scott Walker to propose that the state expand Medicaid as part of his next two-year state budget.
Walker’s office did not comment on the new figures. The governor planned to stay silent on the matter until he unveils his budget package to the Legislature in 15 days.
Milwaukee Assembly Democrat Jon Richards told a news conference, “It’s about knowing a good deal when you see one – and this is a good deal.”
The Democrats asked for the Fiscal Bureau analysis after the state’s health secretary told Congress it most cost Wisconsin more – and not less – to expand its Medicaid programs, even with the added federal money that’s part of the package.
The Fiscal Bureau said the state could cover an extra 175,000 needy people and still save the $66 million through 2016 – and in the following four years, Washington would pay state health providers $4.5 billion for Medicaid patients – while the state would only have to shell out another $67 million.