Feingold’s Medicaid rhetoric does not match the record
Senator Russ Feingold rated his efforts on the Senate health care reform bill and its effect on Wisconsin’s Medicaid spending rather highly. As I report this week for the MacIver Institute, his boasts do not match the record:
In theory, Wisconsin should not see an expansion of Medicaid enrollment because the state’s Medicaid Programs, BadgerCare Plus (including the Core Plan) cover Wisconsin residents up to 150% of the federal poverty line. Senator Feingold says that he worked to make sure the health care bill accounted for Wisconsin’s larger coverage.
The federal government would reimburse states with already expanded Medicaid coverage between 80 percent and 95 percent for those newly eligible recipients.
However, as Richard Moore in the Lakeland Times reports, Wisconsin has many residents under 150% of the federal poverty line who are not currently enrolled in the state’s Medicaid programs. Because of the mandatory insurance requirement, those that were previously eligible but not enrolled would likely be pushed into these programs.
Under the Senate version of the health bill that Feingold voted for, they would not count as newly eligible as they were already previously eligible for benefits. As a result, federal reimbursement for them would not be at the much higher rate, but at the previous rate under which Wisconsin was reimbursed for Medicaid recipients.