St. Patrick’s Day in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of forty-three. Sunrise is 7:01 AM and sunset 7:04 PM, for 12h 02m 06s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 83.2% of its visible disk illuminated.
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Lost in the ongoing debate over whether Wisconsin should expand eligibility for Medicaid — and accept roughly $184.9 million a year in federal dollars for doing so — is one small detail:
Former Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature already expanded the Medicaid program.
They just didn’t take the federal money available to states to offset much of the cost.
Wisconsin is the only state in the country that expanded eligibility for its Medicaid program — the change made in 2014 covered 147,000 adults without dependent children as of January — while not accepting the federal money available to states through the Affordable Care Act.
Republicans in the Legislature — whose votes Evers would need — have largely stood firm in their opposition. And now legislators are citing a study that contends expanding the program would shift $1.1 billion in costs to private health plans.
The study — released last month by Republican lawmakers at a news conference at the state Capitol — was by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and the Center for Research On the Wisconsin Economy, or CROWE, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Economists and policy analysts quickly criticized the study for what they contend is a lengthy list of flaws, with one describing it as “baloney.”
“My real concern is they are trying to affect policy with such garbage work,” said Tim Classen, a professor of economics at Loyola University in Chicago.
The authors of the study — Will Flanders at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and Noah Williams, an economics professor at UW-Madison — stand by the study and its conclusions.
Critics of the study done by Flanders and Williams also contend that it did not account for the fact that Wisconsin already partially expanded Medicaid.
“The issue that really is not addressed for me is Wisconsin’s expansion has sort of already happened,” said Laura Dague, an economist and associate professor of health policy at Texas A&M University. “The application of these numbers to the Wisconsin context is pretty questionable.”
Basically, the study comes up with a national average of the purported cost shift to private health plans from a broad group — adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the poverty threshold. It then applies that average to a subset of that group — those with incomes between 100 percent and 138 percent of the threshold.
The study’s critics contend that isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison.
(The WISGOP, especially, has found researchers – like Williams who know better – willing to do low-quality work on its behalf.)