People who care about elders and persons with disabilities appreciate that the Joint Finance Committee is supporting increases for direct care workers, but we’re deeply concerned and dismayed at its removal of the Medicaid expansion opportunity from the proposed 2020-21 state budget.
Medicaid expansion would infuse an estimated $63 million into our county’s health care arena, provide health care coverage to over 2,500 residents (including direct care workers) and free up GPR dollars that could be applied to special education for children with disabilities. Kenosha scores 66th out of 77 counties in health rankings — hardly impressive.
We have paid federal taxes for benefits that are going to other states. It is foolhardy to refuse expanded Medicaid participation under the ploy of “what happens if the money goes away.” Other states, including conservative ones, have been enjoying added revenue and benefits for years, while Wisconsin continues its tired refrain.
With past budget requests aging and disability advocates have heard over and over, “Where is the money going to come from?” Now money is available but stubborn politics stands in the way.
The issue is about people. It should not be about politics. It’s time to support Medicaid expansion.
Chair, Kenosha County Commission on Aging & Disability Services