Governor Scott Walker recently announced entitlement reforms in his upcoming budget, including requiring worker training for food stamp eligibility and increasing required work searches for unemployment insurance eligibility. Governor Walker is focused on moving people from government dependence to independence.
Today, Governor Walker announced additional entitlement reform to the state's Medicaid program. The Governor's proposal will: reduce the number of uninsured individuals in the state by nearly 50 percent with the number of uninsured adults ages 19-64 to be reduced by 224,580 and reduce the number of individuals dependent on government-run health care.
"Government can provide a hand up, but should not provide a permanent handout," added Governor Walker. "We need to break cycles of generational dependence on the government. Reforming entitlements, like Medicaid and unemployment insurance, puts an emphasis on independence and the dignity that comes with working hard to build a prosperous future of your own choosing."
Governor Walker's proposal will cover people living in poverty through Medicaid and allow individuals above that level to access affordable health insurance coverage through the federal health insurance exchange. This proposal affects non-elderly, non-disabled adults. Under this plan, Wisconsinites in poverty will be covered by Medicaid and those above poverty up to four times the poverty level would receive federal health insurance premium subsidies to purchase health insurance offered in the exchange. By doing so, Wisconsin is projected to reduce the number of uninsured adults, ages 19-64, by 47 percent with 224,580 fewer people uninsured.
"With these Medicaid reforms, we will preserve an essential safety net for our neediest, while protecting our state's taxpayers from uncertainty," said Governor Walker. "In Wisconsin, we made tough, but prudent, decisions in the last two years to get our state on the right track. We truly understand the consequences of avoiding tough choices. Our plan safeguards Wisconsin taxpayers from unnecessary risk and builds on Wisconsin's strong track record of providing affordable health care to our people."
Unlike the proposed expansion under the Affordable Care Act, Governor Walker's proposal works to make people less reliant on government and place responsibility for individual health care decisions with individuals through private solutions.
Governor Walker's proposed changes to Medicaid eligibility will take effect when the federal health insurance exchanges open. According to the federal Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services in Washington, DC, the exchanges will be operational on January 1, 2014.