JFC approves GOP Medicaid plans, bickers over guv’s expansion proposal

The Joint Finance Committee approved a plan to pump $588.2 million in general purpose revenue into the Medicaid program, pushing up reimbursement rates for hospitals, nursing homes and personal care workers.

The investment of state tax dollars would mean an additional $858.4 million in federal funds that would help cover costs of the joint state-federal Medicaid program.

But Dems slammed the GOP proposal as inadequate because it didn’t embrace the guv’s call to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. They pointed out that approach would have saved the state $324 million in GPR while resulting in an additional $1.6 billion investment in health programs.

The GOP motion cleared 11-4 along party lines.

Rep. Evan Goyke, D-Milwaukee, charged Republicans lost on health care in the 2018 elections. But instead of embracing what voters want, they were turning their backs on the public to simply maintain the status quo.

“But it isn’t a plan to bring forward the entire state’s health care system and it doesn’t compare at all to the quality of the plan that Gov. Evers put forward,” Goyke said.

“You lost your election on this.”

But JFC Co-chair John Nygren, R-Marinette, countered Dems distorting the issue. He said polls on Evers’ proposal would look differently if they asked voters whether they wanted to expand welfare, which he said is what Evers proposed. He also said the guv has misled the public by saying expanding Medicaid to an additional 82,000 people. Nygren said half of those are already on private insurance through the health care exchanges created under Obamacare, while the other half were eligible to do so, but hadn’t signed up.

“It’s the lie of the year,” Nygren said.

The plan includes:

*increasing by $60 million GPR the payments to hospitals that serve a disproportionate share of Medicaid patients. But the increase would only apply to this biennium, meaning

*increase by $30 million GPR reimbursement rates for nursing homes.

*increase by $36.9 million GPR reimbursement rates for personal care services provided to those who have disabilities or chronic conditions to help them with daily activities.

It also would retain the current drug screening, testing and treatment provisions Republicans have added to the state’s food stamp program. The requirements haven’t yet been implemented, and Evers had proposed eliminating them in FoodShare.

Read the motion.

Read an amendment to the motion that was approved.