Wisconsin’s Medicaid Expansion Plan Sets New Standard for States
October 07, 2014
Wisconsin’s breakthrough Medicaid expansion plan sets a standard of cost-effective access for quality care that other states should follow, according to a new studyfrom National Center for Policy Analysis and the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy.
Wisconsin’s Medicaid program mixes Medicaid expansion with subsidized private coverage, rejecting full Medicaid expansion in favor of a more focused and pointed program. In doing so, Wisconsin maximizes the availability of private coverage for its low-income residents.
“Wisconsin got it right with the unique configuration of its Medicaid expansion program, which covers the state’s low-income people without a coverage gap,” said NCPA Senior Fellow Devon Herrick.
The study notes that:
Wisconsin’s plan made private coverage available at little cost to the 62,776 Wisconsinites with incomes above 100 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) who were transitioned from Medicaid in 2014.
Shifting these individuals from Medicaid to private coverage allowed Wisconsin to open enrollment in the state’s Medicaid program to 97,059 childless adults earning less than 100 percent of the FPL that did not have coverage previously.
These changes expanded Medicaid eligibility to everyone living below the FPL while allowing residents living just above poverty to get highly subsidized private coverage through the exchange.
“Not only will Wisconsin’s Medicaid reforms save taxpayers more than $750 million over the next two years, it is the only state that rejected the expansion that does not have a coverage gap,” said Brett Healy, President of the MacIver Institute. “The study also notes that expanding Medicaid does not improve health outcomes, it actually raises the cost of health care and there is no proof that it reduces the amount of people that are uninsured. Wisconsin did it right and taxpayers should be proud.”
According to the study, individuals on Medicaid have poor access to care because fewer and fewer doctors are accepting new Medicaid patients. The report also points out that physicians are paid far less for patients on Medicaid than private insurance, which actually increases the cost of health care.
“By designing a flexible mix of public and private coverage for its low-income population, Wisconsin has created a successful example that other states should seriously consider,” said Herrick.