"To keep the possibility alive of making further cuts to state health programs, the Walker administration certified to the federal government on Dec. 29 that the state had a deficit(1) The Walker administration is returning a nearly $11 million federal grant that ....would have gone toward improving enrollment systems for ...health programs for the poor (2) The Governor deserves boos for....turning down $38 million in federal funds (for) implementing the federal health care law in Wisconsin." (3)
Just before Christmas, we all watched the fuzzy warm TV ad in which Gov. Scott Walker and his wife spoke about how we Wisconsinites help each other out. It made me love the Walkers as much as Winston Smith loved Big Brother at the end of 1984.
But now that Christmas is over, we see the real Scott Walker in the clear light of day. In order to dump about 53,000 people from the rolls of Badgercare, Walker is willing to admit that the state still has a deficit, even though some of his other ads claim that he eliminated it without raising taxes. That would not be so bad if the 53,000 people could simply buy private insurance instead: "If the people have no Badgercare, let them buy Anthem!" The trouble is that these people were on Badgercare because they could not afford private insurance, and now will be uninsured. If they get sick or injured, they will show up at the hospital emergency rooms, and the cost of their treatment will be borne by others.
It is reprehensible to cut people off state health insurance because the state is broke, while rejecting federal money that could have been used to help pay for health management costs. The $38 million referred to above was for establishing health care exchanges in Wisconsin, through which uninsured residents could shop for private insurance. This is part of the "Obamacare" law that requires everyone to be covered by health insurance, and the federal government will establish the exchange in each state that does not do so. Wisconsin (under the leadership of Scott Walker and Atty. Gen. J B Van Hollen) is among the states challenging this law in federal court; but unless and until it is overturned, Wisconsin should co-operate with it.
Although Walker is deeply concerned about the state budget deficit and unemployment, he sends back federal money that could have alleviated both. Although deeply concerned about the well-being of his fellow Wisconsin residents (which the Christmas ad proves beyond all doubt), he cavalierly tosses many of the working poor off state health insurance, and opposes using the federal law that would get them insured.
There are many reasons for recalling Scott Walker, but his policies on health care for the poor and the working class are among the most damning. Let's make this state "Scott-free!"
Gerald S Glazer
(1) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (MJS), Jan. 23, 2012, page 7A :"Does state have a budget deficit?"
(2) MJS, Jan. 21, 2012, page 1A: "State returning $11 million federal grant."
(3) Same MJS edition, page 9A: On Wisconsin editorial, par. 3.