It’s another bad week for Scott Walker, as his Department of Health Services is reporting a shortfall of $93 million in state tax dollars for the state’s Medicaid fund – a staggering 458% increase over the agency’s previously estimated shortfall.
The Medicaid shortfall is just the latest bad news for Wisconsin’s fiscal situation under Scott Walker’s mismanagement. In a late afternoon news dump last Friday, the kind of which has become a hallmark of the Walker administration, the Department of Revenue released tax collections for May that showed income, corporate and excise taxes were all down compared to a year ago and now the state’s Medicaid shortfall has jumped $73 million.
Wisconsin’s disappointing bad revenue numbers sprung from Walker’s politically-motivated decision to spend a projected surplus into a deficit with a top-heavy, election year tax giveaway and now a shortfall in the state’s Medicaid fund can be attributed to Walker’s political decision to reject federal funds to expand Medicaid.
Republican governors in other states, like Chris Christie in New Jersey and Jan Brewer in Arizona and even Republican governors in the Midwest like Rick Snyder, understood that the chance to enter into a federal partnership to expand Medicaid was not only the right thing to do, but was a great deal for the taxpayers of their states too.
But career politician Scott Walker chose pandering to the far-right wing as he contemplates a run for president and Wisconsinites will now pay $119 million more in state taxpayer money to cover an estimated 84,700 fewer people in this biennium alone.
Had Walker accepted the federal investment to strengthen BadgerCare, we could ensure a 100 percent federal reimbursement covering all newly eligible individuals, including the 63,000 Wisconsinites that Walker kicked off of BadgerCare. These savings would allow the state to offset additional costs of continuing BadgerCare coverage into the future and keep Wisconsin tax dollars in Wisconsin, instead of sending our funds — $2.4 billion through 2021 — to other states that will expand healthcare coverage.
“Once again we see career politician Scott Walker choosing his own personal ambitions over fiscal responsibility,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Tuesday. “Reckless decisions motivated by election-year politicking have serious consequences for Wisconsin’s bottom-line and for real people whose needs aren’t being served. Scott Walker’s fiscal mismanagement isn’t working for Wisconsin.”