MacIver News Service

MADISON – For Wisconsin liberals, expanding Medicaid eligibility to people living above the poverty line is the decisive issue in the next state budget.

“The AARP has decided this year that this is the year we’re going to win this fight and this is the hill we’re going to die on if we have too,” Helen Marks Dicks, AARP Wisconsin’s State Issues Advocacy Director, said at a Democratic town hall in April.

Governor Tony Evers assured those attending that town hall, “We’re not going to give up on this. Of course we always want to find common ground. We absolutely have to, but at the end of the day, I do have something that Republicans don’t have and that’s veto. I have the biggest veto pen in this country. It’s bigger than this room.”

The Medicaid expansion would extend eligibility to 82,000 individuals in Wisconsin. Republicans point out half of them already have coverage and the rest have much better options available in the private market.

“The premium costs for someone that is between $13,000 and $17,000 for a plan on the exchange – the Obamacare exchange – is 18 cents a month. The deductible – the annual deductible for somebody on that plan is $50 a year. So, under any circumstances compared to private insurance you’re getting from your company – this is affordable. This is very affordable for someone of modest means,” Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette), Joint Finance Committee Co-Chair, told MacIver News.

Still, liberals are ready to go nuclear over the issue.

“So, what are we going to do here when the Vos Republicans block everything we want to do here? Are we going to take to the streets? What are we going to have to do, because that is what is going to have to happen in this state for us to get what we need to get every day for your family members?” Ann Louise Tetreault, Vice President of SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin, said at the town hall.

Bill Osmulski Bill Osmulski is the news director for the MacIver News Service, a division of the MacIver Institute, a Madison-based free market think tank. Reposted with permission.