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Wisconsin is outlier among Great Lakes states for Medicaid expansion

(The Center Square) – Wisconsin is the only Great Lakes state that hasn’t adopted Medicaid expansion, according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

KFF has tracked states’ expansion of Medicaid. It found that Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota have adopted and implemented Medicaid expansion. Iowa and Michigan implemented expansion in 2014, while Minnesota expanded it at the beginning of 2015, the report found. Iowa and Michigan are among seven states that have approved Section 1115 waivers from federal laws to operate their expanded Medicaid expansion programs. The other states are Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Montana and Utah.

Wisconsin, on the other hand, is among 10 states that haven’t adopted Medicaid expansion, according to the report. While Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, included allocations for Medicaid expansion and more federal Medicaid matching funds through the American Rescue Plan Act’s incentive in his March budget proposal for fiscal years 2023-2024, Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee voted in May to remove that expansion funding from the budget. Evers has continuously tried to get expansion passed since he became governor in 2019. Republicans control Wisconsin’s legislature and haven’t supported expansion.

The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid coverage to most adults that make less than 138% of the federal poverty level and matches the amount for the populations that gained coverage, the report found. The maximum amount is $20,120 as of 2023.

The other nine states that haven’t adopted Medicaid expansion are Wyoming, Kansas, Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida, according to the report.

KFF reported in June that the federal government spent more than $117 billion in enhanced federal Medicaid funding to discourage states from disenrolling people during the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal funding offset states’ Medicaid expenditures since Medicaid enrollment, nationally, increased by 23 million and Medicaid spending increased by billions of dollars.

States will probably start spending more on Medicaid because federal funding is phasing out, KFF said in a news release regarding its “Fiscal Implications for Medicaid of Enhanced Federal Funding and Continuous Enrollment” report. In April, states were able to disenroll people who aren’t eligible anymore for Medicaid or don’t complete the eligibility renewal process. The amount that states increase their spending on Medicaid will be partly based on how quickly people disenroll, how many people successfully apply for Medicaid and changes in per person spending on Medicaid.

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