ICYMI: “Gov. Walker stumbles in addressing allegations he rejected Medicaid expansion to benefit insurers”

Oct 13, 2014

Scott Walker’s rejection of federal funds to strengthen Wisconsin’s successful BadgerCare program has been widely documented — as have reports that his rejection would force the state to spend $119 million more in taxpayer funds to cover 84,000 fewer people — but the question of whether Walker’s decision was motivated by his ties to the insurance industry is a new one.
But that’s the question the nonpartisan social advocacy organization Citizen Action of Wisconsin is posing to Scott Walker and as WKOW is reporting, the governor is struggling to answer it.

WKOW reports:

“Actually if you think about it, its just the opposite,” said Gov. Walker.  “It means fewer people would be on insurance actually, if…in the end…if there were…more people there they’d be under Medicaid.  It’s not a, for us, it has no decision one way or the other.”

To clear up that answer, 27 News specifically asked the Governor if he was saying insurance companies did not benefit at all from his Medicaid decision, even though it meant more customers for them.

“In the end, I’m saying you had people before that were on a wait list.  Those weren’t folks that were affected one way or another by insurance out there. The fact is they weren’t, to my knowledge, they haven’t lobbied me personally or anybody in my administration on this,” said Gov. Walker.

Through a review of publicly available campaign finance reports, the nonpartisan campaign finance watchdog group the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has calculated that Walker received more than $1.27 million from members of the health insurance industry between 2009 and 2013. 

“It’s rare to see a career politician like Scott Walker stumble, but with pay-to-play allegations swirling all around him it must be hard to keep his stories straight,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Tuesday. “There’s not a single good reason for Scott Walker to reject federal funds to strengthen BadgerCare — without dispute, those federal funds would save the taxpayers money and even insure more Wisconsinites. But now we know Walker had more than a million reasons for his decision.”

Read more here.