A Wisconsin county may try to circumvent Governor Scott Walker's rejection of Medicaid expansion by forging its own partnership with the federal government.
What Outagamie County is exploring is basically an end run around Governor Walker. The governor has told federal officials he will not expand Wisconsin's Medicaid program, Badgercare. Under the Affordable Care Act, The federal government will completely pay for expansion the first three years and then 90 percent after that. Outagamie County Executive Thomas Nelson says 7,000 residents in his northeastern county could get health care under expansion.
"So by the governor saying no, he's basically saying no to millions of dollars that are just going to go to other counties in other states. Quite frankly, that's wrong. This should not be about politics."
Outagamie County Executive Nelson says he's reaching out to other Wisconsin counties. He says previously, counties successfully fought attempts to end SeniorCare, the prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients.
"So this has been attempted before and we've been successful. So we are simply exploring as many options, as many avenues as possible to try and do this."
Medicaid is a federal-state partnership but some counties want a say in expansion. This tactic is being tried in Texas, where Governor Rick Perry has remained steadfast in opposition to health reform, but several large counties are hoping to band together to broaden Medicaid's reach.
Nelson is in Washington D.C., where he is discussing this issue with Wisconsin's Congressional delegation.