You Don’t Need to Wear Glasses to Read Between the Lines

big dollar donation

big buck donor

According to the campaign finance watchdog group Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, members of the health insurance industry donated over $1.27 million to Gov. Walker from 2009 through 2013.

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign President Mike McCabe adds that is close to seven times more than the $183,196 Gov. Jim Doyle got from the same industry from 2005 to 2010.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin claims there is a direct correlation between those donations and the Governor’s rejection of the federal Medicaid expansion. Here’s how it works.

The Governor chose to cover all adults whose income is at or below the federal poverty level (FPL) on BadgerCare+, Wisconsin’s primary Medicaid insurance program. He then refused federal funding to expand coverage for those whose incomes fall between 100 and 133 percent of FPL, which meant over 87,000 people were kicked off of BadgerCare+ (220 in Kewaunee County, 343 in Door County).

While some of those people ended up taking employer-sponsored health insurance, Citizen

Action estimates over 72,000 are only eligible for private insurance through the federal marketplace.

Citizen Action estimates the insurance industry could benefit by as much as $350 million each year from rejecting Medicaid expansion. Much of that money would come from the federal government, because those kicked off BadgerCare qualify for the highest level of tax credits to help pay for private insurance premiums in the federal marketplace.

If Governor Walker had accepted the federal expansion of Medicaid, those people would still be covered under BadgerCare+.

Citizen Action officials believe there’s no doubt Gov. Walker made his decision to benefit the insurance companies who donated to his campaign.

McCabe says the public isn’t privy to what lobbying activities prompted this decision, but he believes that campaign records and end result speak for themselves, especially because public opinion was not on the Governor’s side.

“When you look at what the public can see, it’s just not plausible to think that one isn’t connected to the other,” said McCabe. Polls on the issue have consistently shown Wisconsin voters want the state to accept the expansion of Medicaid benefits.

(Excerpted from news release 10/13/14)

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