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Kind Ideas column: Working to expand Medicaid coverage

Wisconsin families have faced far too much uncertainty when it comes to their health coverage. Thousands of Wisconsinites have come up to me, written letters, or called my office to express concern about the rising cost of health care. One common sense solution to lower health care costs and increase access is for our state to finally accept federal funding by expanding BadgerCare.

Ensuring that all Wisconsinites receive quality health care is one of my top priorities. That's why I recently joined Gov. Tony Evers for a town hall meeting at UW-Stevens Point to discuss BadgerCare expansion. I heard from many who are facing rising health care costs and are concerned about their families' coverage. No Wisconsinite should have to worry about if they will be able to access the care they need.

Under BadgerCare expansion, over 80,000 additional Wisconsinites would be covered, saving taxpayers $190 million per year. Wisconsin is one of only 14 states that has not accepted federal Medicaid expansion, costing the state $1.1 billion since 2014 and making it harder for Wisconsin's most vulnerable - including our children, seniors and people living with a disability - to receive health care. Unfortunately, our state legislature is saying that they will continue to reject federal funding for this crucial program.

Republicans and Democrats need to work together to provide certainty to families, veterans, children and seniors so that they have access to affordable health care. We need to recognize what works in health care, fix what doesn't and lower health care costs.

To that end, I'm working across the aisle with my colleagues in the state to find solutions, and will continue to fight to ensure all Wisconsinites have access to quality care.

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