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Evers' Appointed Medicaid Director Jim Jones Pushes Medicaid Expansion For Wisconsin

Angelina Mosher Salazar
Medicaid Director Jim Jones addresses a crowd at the Wisconsin Medical College.

Doulas, mental health services, an expanded dental plan. Those are just some of the benefits that would come from accepting federal Medicaid dollars, according to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' Medicaid Director Jim Jones.

He outlined the governor's goals Thursday at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Jones says Wisconsin is currently leaving millions of dollars on the table. He says if the state took the Medicaid funding, Wisconsin would save $324.5 million and draw a billion more in federal funding. 

"The governor's budget reinvests all of that money back into in the health care system through new initiatives to expand access, to strengthen health care workforce, and expand access to vital services,"Jones says.

Evers promised an expansion of health care on the campaign trail, viewing his victory as a mandate from voters to expand Medicaid. However, his budget proposal is in the hands of Republicans who control the Legislature. They've been staunchly against expanding Medicaid.

Republican Rep. Joe Sanfelippo also addressed the crowd, saying, "I think there's a lot of shared goals, but by adding that many people all at once we're setting the problem up for failure and stress points. When you start putting more and more people into a program that is already struggling to serve the individuals that are already there. That is a cause for concern."

Sanfelippo, the chair of the Assembly Committee on Health, says he's worried about the number of people who would be added to Medicaid. Estimates range from 76,000-82, 0000

He is also concerned about the Federal government not keeping up their end of the deal. "It would kind of be like me preparing my entire family budget based on the fact that I'm gonna win that lottery in New Berlin," says Sanfelippo. 

Evers' biennial budget proposal is in the hands of the Joint Committee on Finance. The committee is scheduled to hear what voters want in a Milwaukee public hearing scheduled for Wednesday April 10 in Oak Creek.

Angelina Mosher Salazar joined WUWM in 2018 as the Eric Von Broadcast Fellow. She was then a reporter with the station until 2021.
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