MacIver News Service | June 3, 2013[Madison, Wisc…] After telling a liberal group last week that expanding the Medicaid program in Wisconsin seemed like a good idea, Sen. Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls) indicated on Monday he has since changed his mind.
“In looking at the long term possibility of losing federal dollars, it may be best to turn down the expansion money,” he told the MacIver News Service on Monday. “There is a fiscal argument to be made for using federal dollars to help pay for Wisconsin’s Medicaid budget in the short term, but, it is overshadowed by the looming nightmare that Obamacare represents to Wisconsin and the nation.”
It was quite a journey for Moulton to arrive at that conclusion.
Last week in Waukesha he said, “I think that the fiscally responsible thing to do is to take the expansion.”
Then on Friday, Moulton tried to explain that comment away.
“I used the words ‘fiscally responsible’ and as I think about it now it was a poor choice of words,” he told the Wisconsin Reporter.
But then he told the Leader Telegram, “There’s a strong argument to be made that there is a financial advantage to the state, at least in the short term, to taking the expansion.”
Moulton is not the only Republican lawmaker struggling over this issue. If the State of Wisconsin expands Medicaid, which is expected to cost $3.39 billion over the next seven years, the federal government has promised to contribute $3.25 billion. Even though the federal money falls short, Wisconsin would pay nothing for the next three years. Some Republican lawmakers like Sen. Moulton have indicated their desire to kick the can down the road to another budget cycle.
Senators Luther Olson (R-Ripon) and Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) have both stated publicly that they don’t like to leave money on the table. Apparently that includes occasions when they’d have to spend $3.39 billion to get $3.25 billion.
Moulton now says, “The simple decision today isn’t always the right decision for the long run.”
The MacIver News Service reached out to Sen. Moulton’s office once more on Monday to get a definitive response on if he supports the Medicaid expansion. If we receive an answer from Moulton’s office, we will update the story.