Political Animal


February 14, 2013 10:16 AM The Scott Walker Triple Gainer

By Ed Kilgore

Yesterday Scott Walker finally announced his much-awaited decision about how to deal with the Medicaid expansion provided for in the Affordable Care Act. And he managed to come up with a “solution” that simultaneously lets him express solidarity with his nullification-minded soul-mates in the Deep South while increasing federal involvement in health insurance in his state and also costing Wisconsin taxpayers some serious money! Quite the triple-gainer, eh?

Here’s a basic explanation from Politico’s Kyle Cheney:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, avowed Obamacare foe, proposed an ambitious plan Wednesday to cut his state’s uninsured population in half — by getting them covered through Obamacare.
The Republican announced that he is rejecting Medicaid expansion and the billions of federal dollars that would come with it. In fact, he’s proposing a net cut in the state Medicaid program.
Walker would take thousands of people currently on Wisconsin’s relatively generous Medicaid program — people who are above the federal poverty level — and move them into the Obamacare exchange instead, where they can get federally subsidized private insurance. Walker has already said he won’t run the exchange, requiring the federal government to take control instead.
Once that group is out of Medicaid, he’d permit more of the state’s poorest residents to come in. But overall, Medicaid enrollment would drop by about 5,400, according to estimates provided by Walker’s office.

The long and short of it is that by moving people who could have qualified for an expanded Medicaid program into the Obamacare exchanges, Walker is sacrificing the super-match made available by the feds for new Medicaid enrollees.

But hey, at the next Republican governors gathering Walker won’t be teased by the cool kids like Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry and Nikki Haley for buckling under to the Medicaid expansion.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on February 14, 2013 10:31 AM:

    Reminds me more of Rodney Dangerfield's "Tripe Lindy" from "Back to School:"


    The only difference is, I was glad Rodney didn't smack face-first straight into the cement around the pool.

  • Josef K on February 14, 2013 10:40 AM:

    I truly wonder what voters in my home state were thinking when they elected this clod.

    Then again, the Cheeseheads have inflicted the likes of Joe McCarthy and Paul Ryan on the rest of us. Compared to them, Walker seems positively sane and practical.

  • Patrick Star on February 14, 2013 10:53 AM:

    I second Josef K.'s dismay of the voters in my homestate, as well. MY Wisconsin is the home of "Fighting" Bob LaFollette and the birthplace of Progressivism. Unfortunately, one need only read the comments after any political story published in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel to realize that the yahoos are running wild in the Badger State.

  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on February 14, 2013 11:02 AM:

    I just have to wonder whether these GOP dickwad governors train their I-can-give-a-shit-less-about-you muscles by kicking kittens and punching puppies.

    I so VA's gov on CNN in the other night waxing happy about how 30 of the state governor's are of the GOP, I couldn't help thinking, "And that right there is the problem..."

  • mb on February 14, 2013 11:53 AM:

    A question I'd like to see answered: Is the Medicaid expansion an option that remains to states in the future? In other words, can states that reject expansion in 2014, come into the system later with the same deal? I'd expect the answer to be yes, but you can't assume much with the current Congresscritters -- they have a tendency to pass sloppy legislation that allows the conservatives to hamstring initiatives, e.g., requiring a Director before the CFPB can do anything.