Rock County Board members narrowly voted Thursday to table a resolution that would place a non-binding advisory referendum on the spring 2020 ballot asking voters if they think Wisconsin should expand Medicaid.
Members voted 12-11 to delay the vote until the next board meeting because there wasn’t written confirmation of how many more people in the state would be insured by expanding Medicaid under the full amount allowed by the federal Affordable Care Act.
As proposed, the referendum would read: “Should the State of Wisconsin accept Affordable Care Act Federal Medicaid funds earmarked to expand health insurance coverage to 76,000 additional Wisconsin residents resulting in the state saving $279.4 million?”
The question originally read insurance coverage would be broadened to an additional 82,000 residents. Board member Kathy Schulz, who drafted the resolution, amended the question Thursday night, changing the number of estimated insured residents to 76,000.
Schulz said she spoke with the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, and a representative told her 76,000 more residents would be covered under full Medicaid expansion.
Gov. Tony Evers, who proposed expanding Medicaid in his 2019-21 state budget plan, has said numerous times coverage would be broadened to about 82,000 more residents if the state expanded Medicaid.
Board member Rick Richard asked for written documentation confirming Schulz’s amended number. Schulz did not have any, so he moved to table the vote.
“Where is it documented?” Richard said. “I’m not doubting Supervisor Schulz’s discussion, but I think that before the question goes on the ballot to tens of thousands of citizens to vote on, we should be able to refer back to some written documentation directly from the fiscal bureau.”
In a Sept. 24, 2018, memo from the bureau, which is available online, bureau supervising analyst Jon Dyck wrote, “It is estimated that once the full expansion is fully phased in, MA (Medical Assistance) would cover approximately 76,000 additional parents and childless adults.”
Rock County Corporation Counsel Richard Greenlee said during the meeting Thursday he was familiar with the number Schulz was referring to and said he could produce a record of it from the fiscal bureau.
Still, the board approved tabling the vote until its meeting Aug. 8.
In April, Rock County Human Services Director Kate Luster said Medicaid expansion and more federal funding for health care programs would be a boon for the county’s budget and clients.
Wisconsin would have leveraged about $1.6 billion in new federal funding while saving $324.5 million in state spending by expanding Medicaid to the full federal amount, according to estimates from the Evers administration in April.