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Rep. Ron Kind: Reaction to News that Gov. Walker's Political Games Could Cost Wisconsin Employers $36 Million

Washington, DC – Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) reacted strongly to the new Jackson Hewitt Tax Service study estimating that Wisconsin employers could face federal penalties of up to $36.1 million per year thanks to Governor Scott Walker’s decision to reject the federal dollars for Medicaid expansion provided to states through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“Governor Walker has made it clear that he puts a higher priority on political gamesmanship than he does on the health and economic security of Wisconsin families,” said Kind. “Now we have a price tag to attach to his anti-Medicaid agenda, and Wisconsin employers are the ones paying the bill.”

The governor has proposed putting residents with incomes above 100% of the federal poverty level into a federal health care exchange; if those Wisconsinites work for an employer with 50 or more full-time workers, that employer pays a $2-3,000 tax on each employee who gets coverage through the exchange. According to the Jackson Hewitt Tax Service study, that could apply to over 12,000 Wisconsin workers.

“Taking the federal expansion means that state government and local businesses don’t incur unnecessary costs,” Kind continued. “Governor Walker could make life a lot easier for consumers who need access to health care, and in doing so, save Wisconsin businesses and taxpayers a lot of money in the process.

“When Governor Walker refused the ACA Medicaid expansion, he denied coverage to175,000 low-income people and blocked the creation of up to 10,500 new Wisconsin jobs. And recent estimates found that Medicaid expansion would save Wisconsin up to $250 million between now and 2020, because the expansion is paid for by the ACA,” Kind concluded. “Walker’s disappointing decision to reject this deal hurts children, the disabled, seniors and employers. More and more people across Wisconsin are wondering whose side Governor Walker is really on.”