Thu June 14, 2012
In DC, Walker advocates for Medicaid flexibility
Governor Scott Walker told a Washington D.C. audience Wednesday that states should get more flexibility from the federal government to run Medicaid programs like Badgercare.
Speaking on a panel of Governors at an event organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Walker advocated for what's known as “block grant Medicaid” to fund health care programs for the poor and disabled. The idea, at its core, is that the federal government would provide funding for Medicaid but leave it up to states to decide how the money gets spent. Under the current system, getting federal money means states have to adhere to federal requirements.
Walker says more flexibility would help states cut costs. “The sort of things that we as governors would do, Democrat and [Republican] alike, are things that I think ultimately look out for the best interest of our people,” he says. “And so give us a chance to do it! Because I think we can do it more efficiently, more effectively, and I think when it comes to Medicaid block grants, I think it's only the tip of the iceberg in terms of other things we could do better than the federal government.”
Walker noted that his administration proposed several ideas to cut costs in Medicaid earlier this year only to have many of those ideas rejected by the federal government.
What the federal government did end up approving will result in an estimated 17,000 Wisconsin residents leaving or being turned away from state health programs. An estimate from the legislature's non-partisan fiscal bureau found Walker's original plan would have turned away roughly 65,000 residents, many of them children.