WISCONSIN — Today, Senator Tammy Baldwin joined State Representative Kristina Shelton and Wisconsin residents Peggy Mcdowell (Tomahawk) and Lisa Schwetschenau to discuss the Medicaid Saves Lives Act — historic legislation introduced by Senators Baldwin, Jon Ossoff (D-GA), and Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) to create a federal program to extend coverage to millions of people in states that have refused Medicaid expansion.
In Wisconsin, the Republican state legislature’s repeated refusal to expand Medicaid has left more than 91,000 Wisconsinites without access to quality, affordable, health coverage. The state has also missed out on $1.6 billion in federal funding.
Despite robust incentives included in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, twelve states — including Wisconsin, still need to expand Medicaid, underscoring the need for a federal solution. The Medicaid Saves Live Act is that solution.
Today’s event was hosted by Protect Our Care Wisconsin and Citizen Action of Wisconsin.
State Representative Kristina Shelton (Green Bay) noted that “70% of Wisconsinites support, and want us to expand Medicaid in Wisconsin” before adding that accepting the federal expansion of Medicaid would expand access to “91,000 low-wage workers – more people than we can fit into Lambeau Field.” Shelton also noted the local economic development projects that could have been paid for under Gov. Evers proposed legislation to expand Badgercare rejected by Republicans in the legislature this summer.
Wisconsin is one of just 12 states that have yet to expand Medicaid. Lisa Schwetschenau was involved in the fight to accept the expansion in Nebraska via ballot initiative before moving to De Pere three years ago. After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis seven years ago Lisa gained new perspective on the consumer protections within the Affordable Care Act and committed herself to fighting to expand access to health care.
Before taking questions, Senator Baldwin walked the audience through her thought process, saying, “We had hoped that we had provided enough incentives to the remaining 12 states that finally they would put their partisan objections aside and accept Medicaid Expansion. But even those provisions we included in the American Rescue Plan, even that didn’t get them to budge.”
In the wake of Wisconsin Republicans once again choosing not to expand Medicaid, Baldwin introduced the Medicaid Saves Lives Act with her two colleagues from Georgia, if passed the bill would create a Medicaid program at the federal level that would extend Medicaid to 91,000 Wisconsin residents who would be eligible.