By Alex Lasry
As Congress continues to debate its ‘Human Infrastructure Plan’ in Washington, a proposal that is being championed by Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin is quickly gaining momentum. Baldwin is proposing to have the federal government step in and provide Medicaid coverage in the 12 states that have so far declined the Medicaid expansion passed under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
This would be a huge win for Wisconsin.
Republicans in Wisconsin, including former Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP Legislature, have consistently refused to expand Medicaid. In the process, Republicans have turned away billions of our federal tax dollars, while denying coverage to an estimated 91,000 additional people in Wisconsin.
Besides being morally wrong, this has been fiscally very stupid and has increased costs for everyone in Wisconsin who pays for health insurance.
Some might chalk this up to Republicans just being Republicans, but Republican led states across the country have passed the Medicaid expansion to improve health care for their citizens. Even former Vice President Mike Pence passed the Medicaid expansion when he was governor of Indiana.
Prioritizing the expansion of Medicaid is not only about improving health care, but it’s also a critical issue of economic and racial equity. Democrats in Congress should not leave low-income people in these 12 states behind just because they live under GOP control.
House Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina said it best: “I think it would be un-American of us to continue to do the things that are necessary to get our economy back going and leave the Americans, the citizens in these 12 states, leave them behind as we go on to improve other parts of health care services in our country.”
No one should be surprised that Baldwin has been one of the leading proponents of getting this done. Baldwin always has our back and finds innovative ways to improve the lives of Wisconsinites despite GOP roadblocks.
This of course is in stark contrast to our other Wisconsin senator, Ron Johnson, who has spent the last 11 years ignoring the needs of the people of Wisconsin. He has instead prioritized passing corrupt backroom deals that benefit himself and his donors and saying no to anything that would help the people of his home state. He even voted against every piece of COVID relief legislation.
I look forward to going to the United States Senate to be a true partner for Baldwin and to work with her to deliver real results for Wisconsin. It’s time for Wisconsinites to have two senators working hard on their behalf every day.