By LaKeshia Myers
The people of Wisconsin have spoken, they want our state’s residents to have adequate healthcare options. One way to do this is to expand Medicaid. As the centerpiece of Governor Evers’ budget, Medicaid expansion would do the most good for Wisconsin.
Acceptance of the Affordable Care Act funding would expand not only the Medicaid program and BadgerCare Plus but also cover up to 82,000 more people, and free up more than $300 million state funds over two years that could be used for other purposes.
Contrary to popular belief, Medicaid expansion is not just an urban issue. Rural Wisconsin communities need Medicaid expansion in order to maintain adequate standards of care for rural citizens. Without Medicaid expansion, hospitals and rural clinics could be forced to close or lay off personnel. Services for rural communities who are the hardest hit by the opioid epidemic could lose AODA treatment funding.
And with our aging adult population living longer lives, these services will continue to be essential for treating the needs of all Wisconsinites.
On an urban front, Medicaid expansion would also help Wisconsin cities as well. Governor Evers and other state legislators (myself included) have begun to work on initiatives to change the perplexing trends of infant mortality and maternal health, especially in communities of color.
Expanding Medicaid would allow us to expand the role of birth and postpartum doula services to assist women giving birth to healthy children. Expanding Medicaid could also be used to spearhead pilot programming in schools to have more behavioral health clinicians in schools to offer support services to families who need them.
With Wisconsin needing so much, one can only wonder why Senator Alberta Darling and Rep. John Nygren can’t seem to understand that Medicaid expansion is a win for all of Wisconsin? Perhaps they need a wakeup call.
This article originally appeared in The Madison Times.