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Medicaid Expansion Proposal Faces Hurdles in Wisconsin Legislature

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Gov. Tony Evers plans to expand Medicaid access.

Since the Affordable Care Act was first passed in 2010, states have had the option to expand access to Medicaid to people living just above the federal poverty line. Wisconsin is among a minority of states that didn't accept these funds. Gov. Tony Evers wants to change that. 

In his most recent budget is a proposal to expand access to Medicaid. The move could bring health care coverage to thousands of Wisconsinites. 

"The governor’s administration has estimated that expanding the program would cover an additional 82,000 people through Medicaid," says Sean Kirkby, assistant editor of Wisconsin Health News. 

But the proposal faces an uncertain future. Although Democrats support the idea, some Republicans are feverently against expansion. Others are looking for compromise. Some states, like Arkansas and Utah, took federal funds for Medicaid expansion, but changed their programs to be friendlier to private insurance companies.

"A few states ... [are] trying to do these different approaches, in terms of having a private option [for Medicaid eligible people]," Kirkby explains.

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Joy Powers hosts and produces Lake Effect. She joined WUWM January 2016 as a producer for Lake Effect.