Gov. Tony Evers says he’s not giving up on his proposal to expand Medicaid despite JFC Republicans’ plan to pull it from the budget, but he stopped short of saying he would veto a budget that didn’t include it.
Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, dug in over his opposition to the plan and accused the guv of misleading the public.
During a Milwaukee news conference Thursday, Evers highlighted the federal money his proposal would draw, along with money the state would save while expanding Medicaid coverage to 82,000 residents. He was joined by Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Dem lawmakers, city officials and supporters
He said Medicaid expansion has wide public support — 70 percent of voters backed the move in the most recent Marquette University Law School Poll — and Evers urged residents to contact lawmakers on the issue.
Asked if he would veto a budget without Medicaid expansion, Evers said he believed GOP lawmakers could be convinced to support it with enough public pressure.
“We’re not ceding one foot on this,” Evers said. “People are operating under the premise that we can’t get Republican support.”
Vos, speaking with reporters at Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport, said Evers’ proposal would undermine the private health insurance market and put the state at risk if the federal government backs off its funding commitment for the expansion.
He said about half of the people who would be covered by the expansion are already on private insurance, while the rest are already eligible for plans under the federal exchanges. He said he believes the average out-of-pocket premium cost in the Milwaukee market would be 18 cents per month with a $50 deductible.
“Yes, changes need to be made. And we are more than willing to make sure that anybody who has not taken advantage of the current offering under Obamacare has the ability to sign up for that, they have the ability to access that care,” Vos said without providing details.
Vos said Evers and Dems have been misleading in making the case for expansion.
“There are definite downsides, but the Democrats and Gov. Evers choose to only talk about half of the equation, and frankly, they’re misleading,” Vos said.